Uptake of ferritin and Bordetella avium in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue of turkeys

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 1994 Apr;40(4):367-77. doi: 10.1016/0165-2427(94)90046-9.


The uptake of macromolecular and particulate materials in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) in turkeys was examined using transmission electron microscopy. Tracer materials used were live and ultraviolet-killed (UV-killed) Bordetella avium and ferritin. Suspensions of bacteria and ferritin were instilled via intratracheal catheterization and allowed to remain in contact with the respiratory surfaces for 0, 10, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min. Ferritin and B. avium were taken up by both ciliated and non-ciliated cells of the epithelium overlying BALT (BALT epithelium). Ferritin was found in organelles associated with endocytosis (i.e. apical vesicles, endosomes, cytoplasmic vacuoles) and was apparently transported across epithelial cells, since it was also found in intercellular spaces. Bacteria were found in vacuoles within BALT epithelial cells, but not free in intercellular spaces. Some macrophages in BALT epithelium also contained bacteria. No differences were observed between uptake of live and UV-killed bacteria. We conclude that both ciliated and non-ciliated cells of BALT epithelium in turkeys are able to take up macromolecular and particulate materials. Bacteria are also accessible to intraepithelial macrophages, although whether they are taken up directly from the bronchial surface or whether they pass through epithelial cells first could not be determined. This evidence suggests that antigens, including respiratory pathogens, could gain access to cells of the avian immune system by transepithelial passage in BALT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Bordetella / metabolism*
  • Bronchi / metabolism*
  • Bronchi / microbiology
  • Bronchi / ultrastructure
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / microbiology
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Ferritins / metabolism*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / microbiology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / ultrastructure
  • Organelles
  • Turkeys / immunology*


  • Ferritins