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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2000 Apr 19;74(1-2):103-20.

Flow cytometric analysis of an immunodeficiency disorder affecting juvenile llamas.

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Departments of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7040, USA.


The present study was undertaken to characterize the immune system of llamas and alpacas and establish the basis for an immunodeficiency disorder affecting juvenile llamas. Flow cytometric (FC) analysis of the immune system with a panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) revealed the immune system of llamas and alpacas is similar in leukocyte subset composition to that in ruminants. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells in adults are comprised of surface immunoglobulin (sIg(+)) B-cells (31%+/-8 S.D.), alphabeta T-cells (27%+/-12 S.D.), WC1(+) gammadelta T-cells (16%+/-11 S.D.), and 5-16% monocytes. In contrast to cattle, goats, and sheep, however, the frequency of WC1(+) gammadelta T-cells is not high in juveniles but similar to the frequency in adults. Also, sIg(+) B-cells are present in high concentration in juveniles (43%+/-11 S.D. ). Expression of major histocompatibility class II molecules on resting T-cells was low or absent. Comparative analysis of peripheral blood lymphocyte composition in normal juvenile llamas and llamas presenting with the signs of the juvenile llama immunodeficiency syndrome (JLIDS) revealed the concentration of B-cells is extremely low (1-5%) in affected animals. The findings suggest JLIDS is attributable to an autosomal recessive genetic defect in the development of B-cells.

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