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Parasitol Res. 2010 Feb;106(3):595-605. doi: 10.1007/s00436-009-1705-5.

T cell reactions of Eimeria bovis primary and challenge-infected calves.

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Institute of Parasitology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Rudolf-Buchheim-Str. 2, 35392 Giessen, Germany.


Eimeria bovis infections commonly have clinical impact only on young animals, as homologous reinfections generally are under immunological control. So far, the nature of the immune responses delivering protection to calves has not been investigated. In this study we therefore analysed local and peripheral proliferative T cell activities of primary and challenge-infected calves and investigated the occurrence of T cell phenotypes in the peripheral blood and in mucosal gut segments isolated either by bioptic means or by necropsies.We show that lymphocytes of E. bovis-infected calves exhibit effective, transient antigen-specific proliferative responses in the course of prepatency of primary infection but fail to react after homologous reinfection suggesting early abrogation of parasite development. Whilst in primary infection an expansion of peripheral CD4+ T cells was observed, reinfection had no effect on the proportions of CD4+, CD8+ subsets or gammadeltaTCR+ T cells. In contrast, both E. bovis primary and challenge infections had an impact on local tissue T cell distribution. Primary infection was characterised by a CD4+ T cell infiltration early in prepatency in ileum and later in colon mucosa, whereas CD8+ T cells were only found accumulating in the latter gut segment. Challenge infection led to infiltration of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in small intestine and large intestine segments indicating protective functions of both cell types. In contrast, infiltration of ileum and colon mucosa with gammadeltaTCR+ T cells was restricted to primary infection.

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