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Open Access Research article

Plasma levels of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-10 during a course of experimental contagious bovine pleuropneumonia

Flavio Sacchini1, Mirella Luciani1, Romolo Salini1, Massimo Scacchia1, Attilio Pini1, Rossella Lelli1, Jan Naessens2, Jane Poole2 and Joerg Jores2*

Author affiliations

1 Istituto "G. Caporale", via Campo Boario, 64100 Teramo, Italy

2 International Livestock Research Institute, Old Naivasha Road, PO Box 30709, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:44  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-44

Published: 25 April 2012

Abstract

Background

Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides, is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. The current live vaccine T1/44 has limited efficacy and occasionally leads to severe side effects in the animals. A better understanding of the immune responses triggered by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides and their role in disease progression will help to facilitate the design of a rational vaccine. Currently, knowledge of cytokines involved in immunity and immunopathology in CBPP is rather limited. The aim of this study was to characterize the in vivo plasma concentrations of the cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10 and the overall role of CD4+ T cells in the development of cytokine levels during a primary infection. Plasma cytokine concentrations in two groups of cattle (CD4+ T cell-depleted and non-depleted cattle) experimentally infected with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides were measured and their relationship to the clinical outcomes was investigated.

Results

Plasma cytokine concentrations varied between animals in each group. Depletion of CD4+ T cells did not induce significant changes in plasma levels of TNF-α, IL-4, and IL-10, suggesting a minor role of CD4+ T cells in regulation or production of the three cytokines during the time window of depletion (1-2 weeks post depletion). Unexpectedly, the IFN-γ concentrations were slightly, but statistically significantly higher in the depleted group (p < 0.05) between week three and four post infection. Three CD4+ T cell-depleted animals that experienced severe disease, had high levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ. Only one severely diseased non-depleted animal showed a high serum concentration of IL-4 post infection.

Conclusions

Comparison of most severely diseased animals, which had to be euthanized prior to the expected date, versus less severe diseased animals, irrespective of the depletion status, suggested that high TNF-α levels are correlated with more severe pathology in concomitance with high IFN-γ levels.

Keywords:
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia; Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides; Cytokines; TNF-α; IFN-γ; IL-4; IL-10