Quail as the Chimeric Counterpart of the Chicken: Morphology and Ontogeny of the Bursa of Fabricius

Nándor Nagy, Attila Magyar, Miklós Tóth, Imre Oláh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


The quail is the chimeric and parabiotic counterpart of the chicken, thus increasing the value of quail in the field of developmental biology. Quail bursa of Fabricius was studied by light microscopy, electron microscopy, and immunocytochemical methods. The basic cellular composition and structural framework are comparable with those of the chicken bursa. One of the major structural differences is the absence of the continuous cortico-medullary arch. In addition to the epithelial reticular cell the bursal secretory dendritic cell is the other medullary-specific bursal cell. The bursal secretory dendritic cell is a highly elongated cell which expresses vimentin intermediate filaments and produces secretory granules. The substance of the granules can be visualized by NIC2 monoclonal antibody, which was produced against guinea fowl bursal secretory dendritic cell. The released granular content appears on the lateral surface of the bursal secretory dendritic cell and is gradually solubilized. Thus, the NIC2-positive substance may occur in membrane-bound and solubilized forms in the isolated environment of the medulla. The bursal secretory dendritic cell establishes membrane contact areas with the B cells; therefore, they may influence B-cell maturation by cell contact and chemical (humoral) product. During embryogenesis bursal secretory dendritic cell precursors enter the epithelium and 1) induce epithelial bud formation, and 2) produce an NIC2-positive substance. Senescent bursal secretory dendritic cells can be phagocytic and migrate into the follicle-associated epithelium. This physiological turnover of the bursal secretory dendritic cell represents a novel pathway of macrophage formation from dendritic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-339
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2004


  • Bursa of Fabricius
  • Follicle formation
  • Quail
  • Secretory dendritic cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology

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