Cytokine storms are primarily responsible for the rapid death of ducklings infected with duck hepatitis A virus type 1

Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 26;8(1):6596. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-24729-w.


Duck hepatitis A virus type 1 (DHAV-1) is one of the most harmful pathogens in the duck industry. The infection of adult ducks with DHAV-1 was previously shown to result in transient cytokine storms in their kidneys. To understand how DHAV-1 infection impacts the host liver, we conducted animal experiments with the virulent CH DHAV-1 strain and the attenuated CH60 commercial vaccine strain. Visual observation and standard hematoxylin and eosin staining were performed to detect pathological damage in the liver, and viral copy numbers and cytokine expression in the liver were evaluated by quantitative PCR. The CH strain (108.4 copies/mg) had higher viral titers than the CH60 strain (104.9 copies/mg) in the liver and caused ecchymotic hemorrhaging on the liver surface. Additionally, livers from ducklings inoculated with the CH strain were significantly infiltrated by numerous red blood cells, accompanied by severe cytokine storms, but similar signs were not observed in the livers of ducklings inoculated with the CH60 strain. In conclusion, the severe cytokine storm caused by the CH strain apparently induces hemorrhagic lesions in the liver, which might be a key factor in the rapid death of ducklings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Biopsy
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Ducks
  • Hepatitis Virus, Duck / genetics*
  • Hepatitis Virus, Duck / immunology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / blood*
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / mortality
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / virology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / virology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Viral Load


  • Cytokines