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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1971. Department of Veterinary Science.


Copyright 1971, the author. Used by permission.


Reticuloendothelial disease (RED), is an acute viral disease that affects turkeys, chickens and Japanese quail. The condition is characterized by profound changes in the lymphoreticular tissues, and 100% mortality in chicks inoculated at one day of age. There are marked alterations in most of the organs, characterized by a proliferation of reticuloendothelial cells, with replacement of lymphoid tissue in spleen, thymus and bursa of Fabricius.

Several studies have been published concerning the characteristics of the viral agent of RED – RE virus (strain T)-. This virus has been shown to be different from the leukoviruses of the avian leukosis-sarcoma complex and the herpesvirus of Marek’s disease.

Pathologic and hematologic alterations have been published, but no information is available on changes of plasma or serum proteins during the course of the disease.

The present work was undertaken to study the effect of Reticuloendothelial disease on the serum profile in young chicks, by comparative electrophoretic and chromatographic techniques. The need for such a study was based on the fact that many of the serum proteins, and especially those associated with the immune mechanism, are produced and controlled by the reticuloendothelial system. In birds, the spleen, bursa of Fabricius, and thymus are particularly active in this respect.

Advisor: Marvin J. Twiehaus