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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2009 Jan 15;127(1-2):174-80. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2008.09.012. Epub 2008 Sep 21.

Immunological responses following experimental endobronchial infection of badgers (Meles meles) with different doses of Mycobacterium bovis.

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School of Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland.


The Eurasian badger (Meles meles) is a wildlife reservoir for Mycobacterium bovis infection in Ireland and Great Britain and has been implicated in the transmission of tuberculosis to cattle. Vaccination of badgers is an option that could be used as part of a strategy to control the disease. In this study we used an endobronchial infection procedure to inoculate groups of badgers with three different doses (3x10(3), 2x10(2) and <10 Colony Forming Units (CFUs)) of M. bovis. After 17 weeks the disease status of each animal was determined by post-mortem pathology and culture for M. bovis. Each of the inoculum doses resulted in establishment of infection in the badgers. The cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses were measured by lymphocyte transformation assay (LTA) of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) cultured with bovine tuberculin (PPD-B). In each infected group the CMI responses increased with a kinetic profile corresponding to the delivered dose and the post-mortem pathology. The serological responses were measured by ELISA and a multi-antigen print immunoassay (MAPIA) in order to investigate any changes in the antigenic repertoire associated with different infective doses. In contrast to the CMI responses, the ELISA and MAPIA showed that the recognition of antigens by the badgers was intermittent and not strongly influenced by the dose of M. bovis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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