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J Comp Pathol. 1998 Feb;118(2):109-21.

Changes in lymphocyte subsets in the intestine and mesenteric lymph nodes in caprine paratuberculosis.

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U.D. Histología y Anatomía Patológica, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Murcia, Spain.


Changes in the number and distribution of lymphocyte subsets were investigated in the intestinal mucosa and mesenteric lymph nodes of three goats with natural paratuberculosis, comparisons being made with a single uninfected control animal. Lesions in the naturally infected goats varied from small granulomata with scarce epithelioid or multinucleated giant cells, containing few or no bacilli, in the intestine (tuberculoid type) to an extensive, diffuse epithelioid cell infiltrate containing numerous bacilli in the gut and mesenteric lymph nodes (lepromatous type). The number and distribution of lymphocyte subsets in the control were consistent with data reported from other non-infected goats. However, in the goats with paratuberculosis, significant changes were observed in the number and distribution of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, the changes being related to the severity of the lesions. In the intestinal mucosa of the goat with tuberculoid lesions no significant changes were observed, but in the cortical area of mesenteric lymph nodes the number of CD4+ T lymphocytes decreased and the number of CD8+ T lymphocytes increased. In the two goats with lepromatous lesions, there was a decrease in the CD4+ T subpopulation and an increase of CD8+ T lymphocytes in the lamina propria of the intestine and particularly in the cortical area of the mesenteric lymph nodes, the CD4:CD8 ratio (< 1) being the opposite of that observed in healthy goats. Because of the small numbers of animals, further studies including additional animals are needed to confirm these preliminary results, which suggest that the progression of paratuberculous lesions may be due to an ineffective host immune response attributable to the CD8+ T lymphocyte subset that "downregulates" the activity of the CD4+ T lymphocytes required for macrophage activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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