Isolation and Characterization of Chicken Lung Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and Their Susceptibility to Avian Influenza Virus

Dev Comp Immunol. 2010 Apr;34(4):474-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2009.12.008. Epub 2009 Dec 28.


In this study, we isolated and characterized mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from the lungs of 1- to 2-week-old chickens. Microscopically, the cultured cells showed fibroblast-like morphology. Phenotypically these cells expressed CD44, CD90, CD105 and the transcription factor PouV, which has been shown to be critical for stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency. The multipotency of chicken MSCs was demonstrated by their ability to undergo adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation. Like chicken bone marrow MSCs and mammalian MSCs, chicken lung MSCs had immunoregulatory activity and profoundly suppressed the proliferative capacity of T cells in response to a mitogenic stimulus. Next, we examined the susceptibility of these cells to H1N1 and H9N5 avian influenza (AI) viruses. The lung MSCs were shown to express known influenza virus alpha-2,3 and alpha-2,6 sialic acid receptors and to support replication of both the avian H1N1 and avian H9N5 influenza strains. Viral infection of MSCs resulted in cell lysis and cytokine and chemokine production. Further characterization of lung MSCs in chicken and other mammalian species may help in understanding the pathogenesis of infectious and non-infectious lung diseases and the mechanisms of lung injury repair.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / biosynthesis*
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Separation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chickens
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / pathogenicity
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / physiology*
  • Influenza in Birds / immunology*
  • Influenza in Birds / metabolism
  • Influenza in Birds / pathology*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / immunology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / virology
  • POU Domain Factors / genetics
  • POU Domain Factors / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology
  • Stromal Cells / immunology
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism*
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Stromal Cells / virology*
  • Virus Replication


  • Antigens, CD
  • POU Domain Factors
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • sialic acid receptor