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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2004 Nov;102(1-2):67-76.

Variability in cytokine production and cell proliferation by mitogen-activated ovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells: modulation by interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-12.

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Moredun Research Institute, International Research Centre, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Edinburgh, EH26 0PZ, UK.


T-cell reactivity is typically measured by cell proliferation and/or production of cytokines in response to antigenic/mitogenic stimulation. The choice of assays is more limited in ruminants than rodents, and complicated by the variability inherent in outbred populations. We have measured proliferation and production of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 24 sheep, and compared the responses between sheep, within sheep over several sample points, and also drawn comparisons between the two assays. PBMC derived from different sheep varied by as much as ten-fold in both proliferation and IFN-gamma production, though not necessarily at the same sample time. Thus, there was a poor correlation between the two assays and also considerable variation in the responses from the same animal at different time points. Both parameters could be modulated by exogenous recombinant ovine interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-12, but we were unable to correlate IFN-gamma production with endogenous cytokine production in the assays. These data highlight the importance of assay selection for the measurement of immune responsiveness and also demonstrate the variation that can be expected between sheep and over time.

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