Fowl glioma-inducing virus (FGV), which belongs to subgroup A of avian leukosis virus (ALV), shows tumorigenicity and pathogenicity, mainly in the nervous system, and causes astrocytoma and perineurioma. Apart from these neoplasms, cerebellar anomaly was found in chickens infected with FGV in ovo. The study reported here describes the morphologic characteristics of the affected cerebellum. Specific-pathogen-free chickens (C/O) were inoculated with FGV through the yolk sac on the 7th day of incubation. The cerebellar anomaly included diffuse depletion of granular cells of the internal granular layer (IGL), remnants of the external granular layer (EGL), and disorganization of the Purkinje cell layer. These cerebellar changes were observed in all birds except one. In the infected embryos, the EGL was thicker and had an irregular arrangement with a thin molecular layer (ML) and IGL, compared with the control. The granular cells were immunohistochemically positive for ALV common antigen. Immunohistochemical analysis for vimentin revealed disarrangement and decreased number of Bergmann's fibers. Use of the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling method and electron microscopy indicated that apoptotic granular cells were frequently observed in the EGL and ML. These results suggested that the cerebellar anomaly was hypoplasia, principally resulting from the apoptosis of granular cells in the EGL and ML caused by FGV infection and that the cell loss induced obstruction of granular cell migration and disarrangement of Bergmann's fibers in the ML.
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