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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2009 Jul 15;130(1-2):135-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2009.02.003. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

The humoral immune response of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) against horse red blood cells.

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Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 29, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia.


The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is under threat of extinction due to a fatal infectious neoplastic disease, named Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Tumours are transferred as allografts between animals and no effective immune response or host resistance to the disease has been detected, raising interest in the immune function of the species. To investigate whether Tasmanian devils had a competent humoral immune response, four devils were immunised with horse red blood cells (HRBC) either intraperitoneally or subcutaneously. Antibody responses were measured by direct and indirect haemagglutination assays for a period of up to 40 weeks. Primary responses were well defined, but secondary responses were prominent only in the devils immunised subcutaneously. All devils showed evidence for a memory antibody response following a booster given 32 weeks after the first injection and this was more evident with the subcutaneous route. Tasmanian devils tested were capable of mounting a humoral immune response against HRBC and the subcutaneous injection in the presence of the adjuvant Montanide was a safe and effective route.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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