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Dev Comp Immunol. 2007;31(2):202-14. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Frequency and phenotype of EHV-1 specific, IFN-gamma synthesising lymphocytes in ponies: the effects of age, pregnancy and infection.

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Animal Health Trust, Centre for Preventive Medicine, Lanwades Park, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7UU, UK.


Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) infects horses, causing acute respiratory disease, neurological signs, and is also a leading cause of abortion. Protection from EHV-1 infection and disease depends on both humoral (virus neutralising antibody) and cellular (mainly cytotoxic T lymphocytes, CTL) immune responses. CTL activity after EHV-1 infection has been extensively investigated and is closely associated with an alternative measure of cell mediated immunity (CMI), interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) synthesis. This study investigates EHV-1-specific IFN-gamma synthesising cells in potentially immunocompromised horses; foals, pregnant mares and aged animals, after field or experimental infection with EHV-1. In foals and pregnant mares, the kinetics after experimental infection were similar and the phenotype of IFN-gamma+ synthesising cells after EHV-1 stimulation was mainly CD8alpha+. In contrast, in samples collected from primed healthy ponies exposed to EHV-1 several months previously or in old ponies (28 years old), the majority of EHV-1-specific IFN-gamma+ lymphocytes expressed a CD5+, CD8alpha- phenotype. This study highlights the complexity of the relationship between EHV-1, a common pathogen in horses, and the virus-specific cellular immune response as measured using IFN-gamma synthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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