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Immunology. 1996 Jan;87(1):9-14.

A sequential study of the bovine tuberculin reaction.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Ballsbridge, Ireland.


The sequential histopathological and immunocytochemical changes that characterize the tuberculin reaction were studied in 13 cattle experimentally sensitized to Mycobacterium bovis, and 14 cattle naturally infected with M. bovis. There were two distinct, temporally related patterns of morphological change that were similar for both groups of cattle. The first phase, between 6 hr and 24 hr after the intradermal injection of purified protein derivative (PPD), was characterized by a perivascular aggregation of WC1+ gamma delta T cells and neutrophils and the presence of leucocytoclastic vasculitis within the papillary dermis. The second phase of the reaction was characterized by increased numbers of infiltrating BoCD4+ cells, BoCD8+ cells and macrophages, as well as an increase in expression of the interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor and the ACT2 antigen. Macrophages were the most numerous infiltrating leucocytes between 24 hr and 72 hr after the intradermal injection of PPD. At 72 hr, the reaction was characterized by intense perivascular cuffing with BoCD4+ cells, BoCD8+ cells and macrophages; gamma delta T cells and neutrophils were a minor component of the reaction and leucocytoclastic vasculitis was no longer observed. No B cells were detected in the dermis throughout the period of study. The increase in skin thickness was primarily because of inflammatory oedema that was contained within the area by a meshwork of fibrin deposited around the collagen bundles of the reticular dermis.

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