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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2004 Dec 28;102(4):399-412.

The effect of repeated tuberculin skin testing of cattle on immune responses and disease following experimental infection with Mycobacterium bovis.

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Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Newbury RG20 7NN, UK.


The comparative intradermal skin test, in which a delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to purified protein derivative of tuberculin (PPD) from Mycobacterium bovis and M. avium is assessed and compared, may be used repeatedly on non-infected animals on farms where bovine tuberculosis (TB) has occurred. A skin test is known to affect subsequent skin tests in infected animals. The reported study was to determine whether repeated skin testing prior to infection with M. bovis might affect the development of the comparative skin test and IFNgamma response subsequent to exposure to virulent M. bovis. The comparative intradermal skin test was applied to one group of six calves five times at 8-week intervals. These and six control calves were subsequently inoculated intratracheally with a dose of M. bovis that produced mild disease. The development of the DTH reaction, IFNgamma, IL-10 and proliferative responses were compared in the two groups of animals. No differences in IFNgamma, IL-10 and proliferative responses were seen between the two groups of calves prior to challenge. After infection with M. bovis no differences in the development of the DTH and IFNgamma responses to PPD were noted as a consequence of the repeated skin testing prior to challenge. No differences between the groups were evident when ESAT-6 was used as antigen and IFNgamma was assayed, although two animals that responded to PPD did not respond with ESAT-6. However, there did appear to be subtle effects of repeated skin testing on the immune response post-challenge that did not affect the diagnostic tests. After challenge control animals showed greater proliferative responses than animals given repeated skin tests prior to challenge, indicating that the procedure did have consequences for immune responses following infection. In both groups a marked reduction in the intensity of the skin test and in the number of animals that would be recognized as reactors was evident when animals were tested 15 weeks post-infection compared to their responses 8 weeks earlier that could have consequences for diagnosis of TB. An antibody response was not evident as a result of repeat skin testing prior to infection but was seen in both groups of calves following skin testing performed 7 weeks after infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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