Apoptosis of peripheral blood leucocytes in rabbits infected with different strains of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus.

  • Paulina Niedźwiedzka-Rystwej Department of Immunology, Faculty of Biology, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland. paulina.niedzwiedzka@gmail.com;
  • Beata Hukowska-Szematowicz
  • Beata Tokarz-Deptuła
  • Alicja Trzeciak-Ryczek
  • Joanna Działo
  • Wiesław Deptuła


The pathogenicity of RHDV (rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus) is mainly associated with its affinity to blood vessels, with causing disseminated intravascular coagulations (DIC), and with the stimulation of the host immune system. Moreover, there are implications suggesting that apoptosis may be a pivotal process in understanding the basis of viral haemorrhagic disease in rabbits - a serious infectious disease causing mortality to wild and domestic rabbits. The aim of this study is to evaluate, by means of flow cytometry, the dynamics of apoptosis in peripheral blood granulocytes and lymphocytes in rabbits experimentally infected with seven different strains of RHDV and so-called antigenic variants of RHDV denominated as RHDVa, i.e.: Hungarian 24V/89, 1447V/96, 72V/2003; Austrian 01-04, 237/04, V-412 and French 05-01. The results showed that all of the RHDV and RHDVa strains cause an increase in the number of apoptotic cells throughout the infection, which might indicate the need for further analysis of the importance of this process.