Turkey arthritis reovirus (TARV) has been isolated from the gastrocnemius tendons and tibiotarsal joint fluid of lame male turkeys >12 weeks old in the Midwest. Two experiments were conducted to compare the pathogenicity in turkeys of three TARVs (TARV-MN2, TARV-MN4 and TARV-O'Neil), one turkey enteric reovirus (TERV strain MN1) and one chicken arthritis reovirus (CARV strain MN1). Two hundred microlitres of virus were inoculated by the oral, intratracheal, or footpad route into 6-day-old poults placed in isolator units. Poults were necropsied at 1 and 4 weeks post infection in Experiment 1, and at 2 and 4 weeks post infection in Experiment 2. Reovirus was detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and virus isolation in tendons of TARV-inoculated poults at 1, 2 and 4 weeks post infection. TARV-O'Neil and TARV-MN2 were detected in tendons of sentinal birds at 1 and 4 weeks and 1 week p.i., respectively. In general, TARVs produced lymphocytic tenosynovitis of the gastrocnemius and digital flexor tendon sheaths without inflammation of the tendons proper. In Experiment 1, poults inoculated with TARV-MN2 and TARV-O'Neil had significantly higher gastrocnemius tendon inflammation scores, as determined by histology, than those inoculated with TERV-MN1 or CARV-MN1. In Experiment 2, poults inoculated with TARV-MN2 and TARV-O'Neil had significantly higher gastrocnemius tendon inflammation scores than those inoculated with TARV-MN4 and virus-free medium (negative control group). Koch's postulates was fulfilled when TARV-MN2 and TARV-O'Neil were re-isolated from tendons of poults that had originally been challenged with either of these viruses. Results of these experiments indicate that TARVs have a unique ability to induce gastrocnemius tenosynovitis in turkeys and that administration of TARV-O'Neil through the oral or intratracheal route is a reproducible model to study pathogenesis of TARV infection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Dr Jack Rosenberger for providing TARV-O’Neil for the study. This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Research Fund.