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Vet Pathol. 2003 Jul;40(4):395-404.

A morphologic and immunohistochemical study of the bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue of pigs naturally infected with Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae.

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Department of General Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, National University of Rosario, Casilda, Santa Fe, Argentina.


Porcine enzootic pneumonia (PEN), caused by Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (Mh), has been described in pigs in all geographic areas. The disease is characterized by high morbidity and low mortality rates in intensive swine production systems. A morphologic and immunohistochemical study was done to determine the cellular populations present in lung parenchyma of infected pigs, with special attention to the bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT). Polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies were used for the detection of antigens of Mh, T lymphocytes (CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+), IgG+ or IgA+ lymphocytes, and cells containing lysozyme, S-100 protein, major histocompatibility complex class II antigen or myeloid-histiocyte antigen. Findings in lung tissues associated with Mh infection were catarrhal bronchointerstitial pneumonia, with infiltration of inflammatory cells in the lamina propria of bronchi and bronchioles and alveolar septa. Hyperplasia of mononuclear cells in the BALT areas was the most significant histologic change. The BALT showed a high morphologic and cellular organization. Macrophages and B lymphocytes were the main cellular components of germinal centers. T lymphocytes were primarily located in perifollicular areas of the BALT, lamina propria and within the airway epithelium, and plasma cells containing IgG or IgA at the periphery of the BALT, in the lamina propria of bronchi and bronchioles, in alveolar septa, and around bronchial submucosal glands. The hyperplastic BALT in PEN cases consisted of macrophages, dendritic cells, T and B lymphocytes, and IgG+ and IgA+ plasma cells. CD4+ cells predominated over CD8+ cells. Local humoral immunity appears to play an important role in the infection.

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