2014 Volume 37 Issue 12 Pages 1982-1985
The bursa of Fabricius (BF) is a unique primary lymphoid organ, and among vertebrates is unique to birds. Despite its importance to the immune systems of various avian species, little is known of the molecular mechanisms underlying early BF development. In the present study, we demonstrated that apoptosis occurs during early development of the bursa of Fabricius in chicken embryos. Initial histological analyses of BF morphogenesis in chicken embryos led to the hypothesis that formation of the bursal lumen correlates with fusion of vacuoles, which appear in the cloacal epithelial bud. Using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase deoxyuridine triphosphate (dUTP) nick-end labeling (TUNEL) analysis and immunostaining with an anti-cleaved (activated) caspase-3 antibody, we detected multiple apoptotic cells around these vacuoles. In further experiments, treatments with a caspase inhibitor caused abnormal bursal lumen in vivo. The present data indicate that apoptosis may play important roles in BF morphogenesis in chickens.