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Vet J. 2013 Jun;196(3):351-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.10.035. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Dose-dependent effects of Chlamydia psittaci infection on pulmonary gas exchange, innate immunity and acute-phase reaction in a bovine respiratory model.

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Institute of Molecular Pathogenesis at Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Naumburger Str. 96a, 07743 Jena, Germany.


The respiratory pathogen Chlamydia psittaci naturally occurs in bovine herds and was recently shown to impair calf health in a dose-dependent manner. The aim of this study was to determine whether the functional consequences and immunological reactions of infection were dose related by quantifying the consequences of acute respiratory chlamydial infection on respiratory signs, disturbances of pulmonary gas exchange, response of the innate immune system, and acute-phase reaction. Fourteen calves were challenged intrabronchially with different C. psittaci doses (from 10(6) to 10(9)inclusion-forming units (ifu) per animal). Ten controls received either UV-inactivated chlamydiae or cell culture medium. Compared to the controls, all animals challenged with live C. psittaci developed hypoxaemia linked to reduced haemoglobin oxygen saturation, increased alveolar-arterial oxygen partial pressure difference (A-aO2) and pulmonary shunt, with symptoms following a dose-dependent pattern. Increases in lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) and leukocytes were also dose-dependent and accompanied by a regenerative left shift in neutrophil granulocytes. With the exception of LBP, which reflected the load of chlamydial cell components in the host, pathophysiological reactions were only detected in calves challenged with viable chlamydiae. These results indicate that the pathophysiological consequences of respiratory C. psittaci infections are strongly dependent on the challenge dose of chlamydiae. For further studies, challenge doses between 10(6) and 10(8)ifu/calf are recommended.

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