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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Maternal and fetal immune response patterns in heifers experimentally infected with Neospora caninum in the second trimester of pregnancy- A descriptive study)

item Almeria, Sonia
item Serrano-perez, Beatriz
item Darwich, Laila
item Araujo, Ricardo
item Lopez-gatius, Fernando
item Dubey, Jitender
item Gasbarre, Louis

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2014
Publication Date: 8/1/2014
Citation: Almeria, S., Serrano-Perez, B., Darwich, L., Araujo, R., Lopez-Gatius, F., Dubey, J.P., Gasbarre, L. 2014. Maternal and fetal immune response patterns in heifers experimentally infected with Neospora caninum in the second trimester of pregnancy - A descriptive study. Veterinary Parasitology. 204:146-152.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma and Neospora are morphologically similar single celled parasites that cause abortion in livestock. The pathogenesis of abortion is not fully known. Both organisms can multiply in placenta and cause fetal damage. However, the number of organisms present does not explain all the damage done to the fetus. In the present study, the authors explain that cytokines (substances liberated from parasitized cells) may damage the fetus. These results will be of interest to pathologists, and parsitologists.

Technical Abstract: Fetal and maternal immune responses 3, 6 and 9 weeks post infection (wpi) were investigated in cows experimentally infected with Neospora caninum on day 110 of gestation. Descriptive analysis showed that the fetuses had lower percentages of spleen T cell subpopulations (CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+) at 6 wpi compared to 3 wpi and/or 9 wpi, with the lowest percentages observed in a dead fetus found upon euthanasia at that time. Increased expression of most cytokines over levels recorded at 3 and 9 wpi were found in fetuses that were alive at 6 wpi. Up-regulated Th1, Th2 and Treg expression was also observed at 6 wpi in the spleen and in the lymph nodes draining the placenta of the cows. At the placental level, while most cytokines were down-regulated from 6 wpi, up-regulation of IL-4 expression was observed at 6 wpi in the caruncle. Our results suggest that the immune response at 6 wpi was crucial for fetal survival in this model of bovine neosporosis.

Last Modified: 05/25/2017
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