[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immune responses of pregnant cattle and their foetuses were examined following inoculation on day 70 of gestation either intravenously (iv) (group 1) or subcutaneously (sc) (group 2) with live NC1 strain tachyzoites or with Vero cells (control) (group 3). Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) responses to Neospora antigen and foetal viability were assessed throughout the experiment. Two animals from each group were sacrificed at 14, 28, 42 and 56 days post inoculation (pi). At post mortem, maternal lymph nodes, spleen and PBMC and when possible foetal spleen, thymus and PBMC samples were collected for analysis. Inoculation with NC1 (iv and sc) lead to foetal deaths in all group 1 dams (6/6) and in 3/6 group 2 dams from day 28pi; statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) increases in cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses including antigen-specific cell proliferation and IFN-γ production as well as increased levels of IL-4, IL-10 and IL-12 were observed in challenged dams compared to the group 3 animals. Lymph node samples from the group 2 animals carrying live foetuses showed greater levels of cellular proliferation as well as significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher levels of IFN-γ compared to the dams in group 2 carrying dead foetuses. Foetal spleen, thymus and PBMC samples demonstrated cellular proliferation as well as IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10 and IL-12 production following mitogenic stimulation with Con A from day 14pi (day 84 gestation) onwards. This study shows that the generation of robust peripheral and local maternal CMI responses (lymphoproliferation, IFN-γ) may inhibit the vertical transmission of the parasite.
Veterinary Research 04/2012; 43(1):38. · 3.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A serial examination of three groups of cattle infected intravenously (iv) (Group 1, n=8) or subcutaneously (sc) (Group 2, n=8) with live Neospora caninum tachyzoites or with VERO cells (Group 3, n=8) at 70 days’ gestation was carried out and the nature of the inflammatory responses in the placenta and the presence of parasite antigen were analysed. Immune cells expressing CD3, CD4, CD8, gamma delta (γδ) T-cell receptors (TCR), CD79α cytoplasmic (cy) (B cells) and NKp46 [natural killer (NK) cells] antigens were identified immunohistochemically and cells expressing mRNA for interferon-γ (IFN-γ) were labelled by in-situ hybridization.Intravenous inoculation caused mortality in all fetuses from 28 days post-inoculation (dpi) onwards. Subcutaneous inoculation caused mortality in 50% of the animals by 28 dpi. Pathological changes in the placenta consisted of necrosis of fetal placental villi, necrosis and inflammation in adjacent areas of the maternal septum and inflammation at the base of the maternal caruncle. The inflammatory infiltrate consisted mainly of CD3+ lymphocytes, dominated by CD4+ and γδ TCR+ cells, with CD8+ cells present to a lesser extent. The results from the control group indicated fewer NK cells than those occurring in the placenta of human beings or mice. Infiltration of CD4+ cells and NKp46+ cells was observed in the caruncular base and septa 14 days after infection, whereas infiltration of γδ TCR+ cells was observed from 28 dpi onwards. To our knowledge this is the first report on the presence and distribution of NK cells in the bovine placenta. Maternal inflammatory cells expressing mRNA for IFN-γ were identified in animals inoculated with parasites iv or sc at 14 and 28 dpi, respectively. In the sc-inoculated dams with live fetuses at 28, 42 and 56 dpi, there was no evidence of parasite antigen, infiltration of immune cells or production of IFN-γ, suggesting that the parasite had not reached the placenta.The exact cause of fetal death was not established. Tissue destruction by the parasite may have occurred; in addition, there may have been a T helper 1 (Th-1) immune response to the neospora infection at the materno–fetal interface, resulting in infiltrations of CD4 T cells, γδ T cells and NK cells and the subsequent production of IFN-γ. It is possible that a pro-inflammatory Th-1 response early in gestation protects the dam by eliminating the parasite; however, it may lead to destruction of the placental tissues themselves and thus be incompatible with fetal survival.
Journal of Comparative Pathology 01/2006; · 1.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infection with the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum is thought to be a major cause of reproductive failure in cattle worldwide. Cattle infected with the parasite are three to seven times more likely to abort compared to uninfected cattle. The parasite may be transmitted to cattle through the ingestion of oocysts that are shed in the faeces of acutely infected dogs (definitive host of N. caninum) or by congenital infection from mother to foetus via the placenta. Interestingly, transplacental transmission can occur over consecutive pregnancies and congenitally infected heifers can transmit the parasite to their own offspring. This repeated vertical transmission observed in naturally infected cattle suggests that cattle do not easily develop effective immunity to the parasite, presenting a significant challenge to the development of a control strategy based on vaccination. Neosporosis is a disease of pregnancy and studying the bovine maternal and foetal immune responses during pregnancy will help us to understand the change in the balance between the parasite and the host that may result in disease of the foetus. Studies in non-pregnant cattle and in murine models of infection have shown the importance of T-helper 1-type immune responses involving pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IFNgamma and IL-12, in limiting intracellular multiplication of the parasite. During pregnancy, changes occur in the immune system allowing the mother to accept the foetal allograft. Research in other species has stressed the crucial role of T-helper 2-type cytokines at the materno-foetal interface in maintaining the pregnancy and regulating the potentially damaging effect of Th-1 responses. Studies in cattle have shown that cell proliferation and IFNgamma responses may be significantly down-regulated around mid-gestation. This may mean that cattle are less able to cope with N. caninum infection at this time and are more likely to transmit the parasite to the foetus. Another important factor is the gestational age and hence immuno-competence of the foetus at the time of infection. Early in gestation, N. caninum infection of the placenta and subsequently the foetus usually proves fatal, whereas infection occurring in mid to late pregnancy may result in the birth of a congenitally infected but otherwise healthy calf. Studies of foetal immune responses have shown that at 14 weeks of gestation, lymphocytes only respond to mitogen, while by 24 weeks (mid-gestation), they respond to antigen by proliferating and releasing IFNgamma. Clearly, there are several factors influencing the outcome of N. caninum infection in pregnancy: the timing, quantity and duration of parasitaemia, the effectiveness of the maternal immune response and the ability of the foetus to mount an immune response against the parasite. The challenge is to design a vaccine that will prevent foetal infection by N. caninum. This is likely to involve a fine balancing act with the immune system that will allow intervention in a manner that will tip the host-parasite balance in favour of the host without compromising the pregnancy.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 11/2005; 108(1-2):29-36. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A technique to take sequential tissue biopsy samples in multiparous, periparturient ewes from the abomasal mucosa is described, developed in parallel in Scotland and New Zealand. Samples were extracted via abomasal cannulae inserted into the wall of the abomasum and exteriorised through dorso-ventral laparotomy. Animals recovered quickly post-surgery, and tolerated the cannula and sampling without any adverse signs of pain or discomfort. The technique was deployed in two pilot studies to investigate the sequential mucosal inflammatory cell responses in well-defined parasitological models, during the periparturient relaxation of immunity in ewes infected with gastrointestinal nematodes and subjected to different feeding treatments. One experiment (Moredun Research Institute, Scotland) involved the infection of twin-bearing ewes with Teladorsagia circumcincta L3 either before, or after lambing. By feeding ewes with different levels of protein supplementation, preliminary data on the impact of nutrition on the eosinophil, mucosal mast cell and globule leucocyte responses during this period were investigated. A similar study was also performed at Lincoln University, New Zealand, to investigate these cell responses in sheep fed relatively high or low protein diets during pregnancy, and infected with a combined immunisation regime of T. circumcincta and Trichostrongylus colubriformis L3. These studies confirmed the phenomenon termed the periparturient relaxation in immunity (PPRI) where a transitory increase in faecal egg counts is observed during late pregnancy and lactation, and this effect was exacerbated during protein undernutrition. Although the number of animals was low in each experiment and the cell responses variable, the results together suggest a reduction in the number of mucosal mast cells and globule leucocyte during the PPRI when protein supply was restricted. The present paper thus describes a successful technique to monitor ovine mucosal cell populations during local immune responses in normal and pregnant sheep. It is envisaged that this technique will be a powerful adjunct to investigations into mucosal immune mechanisms and disease pathogenesis, and will be employed to confirm the influence of dietary protein on the local inflammatory cell responses during the PPRI.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 03/2004; 97(3-4):163-76. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnant cattle were inoculated with N. caninum strain NC-1 tachyzoites intravenously (iv) (group 1, n = 8) or subcutaneously (sc) (group 2, n = 8) at 70 days' gestation. Control animals (group 3; n = 8) received uninfected Vero cells iv. Two animals from each group were killed at 14, 28, 42 and 56 days post-inoculation (dpi). Fetal mortality was 100% and 50%, respectively, in groups 1 and 2 from 28 dpi. In group 1 foci of degenerative fetal placental villi were observed at 14 dpi, with clusters of N. caninum tachyzoites in the affected mesenchyme. There was also inflammation of maternal septal tissues, with necrotic cell debris and serum exudate at the interstitium. At 28 dpi pregnancy had ended and the fetal cotyledons had become detached from the maternal caruncles. Immunohistochemically, particulate N. caninum antigen was detected in the cotyledons. At 42 and 56 dpi, fetal tissues had disappeared, the caruncles were greatly reduced in size, and the uterine epithelium had been largely restored. In group 2, lesions were either severe or absent ("all or nothing" response). In one animal carrying a dead fetus at 28 dpi, placentitis was much more severe than that seen in group 1 at 14 dpi. Lesions contained neutrophils, eosinophils and N. caninum antigen. In animals carrying dead fetuses at 42 and 56 dpi, fetal remains were found and the cotyledons contained N. caninum antigen. Antigen was also detected in fetal tissues. No significant pathological changes were detected in group 2 animals carrying live fetuses or any animal in group 3. Thus, N. caninum administered iv or sc in early pregnancy resulted in rapid fetal death, with parasite-associated lesions in the placenta and fetus. Of the two inoculation routes, the intravenous induced the more acute placental lesions and greater mortality.
Journal of Comparative Pathology 01/2004; 131(2-3):142-56. · 1.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Larval development, mucosal mast cell (MMC) and eosinophil responses in worm-nai;ve lambs, yearling goats and goat kids were compared using two different experimental challenge regimes involving oral administration of infective Teladorsagia circumcincta L(3). Experimental challenge regimes enabled primary and secondary immune responses in the two species to be compared. Goats carried higher worm burdens than lambs and there were significant differences in the stages of development attained by the larval challenge that established in the two species. Possible physiological reasons for these differences are discussed. There were also differences in the establishment and development of larvae in individual yearlings which may indicate the development of a weak age-related immune response. Quantitative analysis of MMC and globule leukocyte (GL) recruitment and functional activity in the form of mast cell-specific proteinase (MCP) production demonstrated differences between the species with goat tissues containing significantly higher numbers of GL and lower concentrations of MCP than the lambs. Quantitative analysis of blood and tissue eosinophil responses failed to demonstrate any significant differences in either species under the two challenge regimes.