Cell-mediated immune response during experimental acute infection with bovine viral diarrhoea virus: evaluation of blood parameters.
Acute infections with bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV), a major pathogen of cattle, are often asymptomatic or produce only mild clinical symptoms. However, they may play an important role in the bovine respiratory disease complex by exerting a marked immunosuppressive effect, as a result of the death of the immunocompetent cell populations involved in controlling innate and adaptive immune responses, together with a marked reduction of both cytokine expression and co-stimulatory molecule synthesis. Although experimental research and field studies have shown that acute BVDV infection enhances susceptibility to secondary infection, the precise mechanism involved in BVDV-induced immunosuppression remains unclear. The present study is aimed at measuring a range of blood parameters in a single group of fourteen calves infected with non-cytopathic BVDV-1. Focus has been put on those related to the cell-mediated immune response just as leucocyte populations and lymphocyte subpopulations, serum concentrations of cytokines (IL-1β, TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-12, IL-4 and IL-10) and acute phase proteins [haptoglobin, serum amyloid A (SAA), fibrinogen and albumin], as well as BVDV-specific antibodies and viremia. After non-cytopathic BVDV-1 infection, clinical signs intensity was never more than moderate coinciding with the presence of viremia and leucocyte and lymphocyte depletion. An early increase in TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-12 levels in contrast to IL-1β was observed in line with a raise in haptoglobin and SAA levels on the latest days of the study. As regards IL-4 levels, no evidence was found of any changes. However, a slight increase in IL-10 was observed, matching up the TNF-α decline during the acute phase response. These findings would help to increase our knowledge of the immune mechanisms involved in acute infection with non-cytopathic BVDV-1 strains, suggesting the existence of a clear tendency towards a type 1 immune response, thereby enhancing resistance against viral infections.