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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2000 Mar 15;73(3-4):207-18.

The use of interleukin-2 receptor expression as a marker of cell-mediated immunity in goats experimentally infected with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis.

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Institute of Pharmacology, Microbiology and Food Hygiene, The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Postbox 8146 Dep., N-0033, Oslo, Norway.


The purpose of the present work was to demonstrate cell-mediated immune response to paratuberculosis in experimentally infected animals, using quantification of interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R) expression on activated lymphocytes by means of in vitro stimulation with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis-derived purified protein derivative (PPDp). A whole-blood technique was developed, and optimal conditions for quantification of IL-2R expression on caprine lymphocytes, using monoclonal antibodies (anti-bovine IL-2R-alpha) and low cytometrical analysis, were determined. Different PPDp-antigen concentrations and incubation times were compared. The whole-blood method was also compared to the more traditional IL-2R assay using peripheral blood mononuclear cultures (Hesketh et al., 1993). Cross-reactivity to Mycobacterium avium was studied at different mycobacteria-PPD concentrations. An immune response could be demonstrated in animals infected with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis. We found that a PPDp concentration of 10microgml(-1) together with an incubation time of 72h, gave the best results using the whole-blood method. The whole-blood method eliminates many laborious steps involved in lymphocyte separation, and the effects of all the constituents of blood are expressed in a way which corresponds more to in vivo conditions. The risk of selecting subpopulations of lymphocytes during cell separation is avoided.

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