Clinical chemistry, haematology, immune response and histological evaluation of rabbits after immunisation and challenge with rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) virus

C. A. Stancu, L. Cărpinișan, A. Ghișe, A. Marcu, M. C. Pentea, E. Dumitrescu, F. Muselin, D. Militaru, R. T. Cristina


Following their immunisation and infection with a VSHI-CN-6 viral strain, a group of 15 rabbits were examined in a study of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD). Serum samples were collected from the external ear vein at 0, 15, 30 and 60 days post-immunisation. The recorded platelet numbers were closer to the lower physiological limit, indicating a mild thrombocytopenia, with values ranging from 26.6 to 30.43×104/mm3. The phagocytic index revealed significant differences (P<0.001) between the mean values obtained before vaccination (day 0) and the 3 post-vaccination measurements, confirming the increase in phagocytic capacity after immunisation. Additionally, the serum lysozyme average value equalled 9.14 mg/mL post-vaccination. The analysis of variance revealed significant statistical differences (P<0.05) between the average values obtained before vaccination (0) and the post-vaccination values, measured on day 14 and 30, respectively. The morphology of the samples collected from the main organs involved in immune protection, spleen and gastric and portal lymph nodes highlighted changes corresponding to the post-vaccination immunological response. The white pulp of the spleen appeared as a diffuse lymphoid tissue, presenting with primary and secondary lymphoid follicles. The ratio of white/red pulp was in favour of the white pulp and multiple lymphoid follicles were present, indicating their reactivation. In the medullary area of gastric and portal lymph nodes, narrow lymphoid cords, circumscribed by relatively large lymphatic sinuses, and well defined lymphocytolysis were observed. Moreover, the exudate and lymphoid follicles during activation were noted in the cortical area. Furthermore, the inflammatory processes were identified, morphologically manifested by the thickening of connective tissue in the lymph node capsule, dilacerations of the connective fibres and the presence of light acidophilic serous exudate with rare inflammatory cells (serous lymphoreticulitis).


rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD); clinical chemistry; haematology; immune response; histology; rabbits

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