Clinical and Serological Response after Experimental Inoculation with Babesia Divergens of Newborn Calves with and without Maternal Antibodies

Experimentell infektion med Babesia divergens av nyfödda kalvar med och utan maternala antikroppar

Abstract

The influence of maternal antibodies on clinical and serological response after experimental inoculation with Babesia divergens of newborn calves was studied. Five calves, born to dams seropositive for B.divergens, (Group 1) had specific maternal antibodies when tested 12 h after their first feeding of colostrum. At that point they were inoculated i.v. with B.divergens infected erythrocytes. Five other calves, born to dams seronegative for B.divergens, (Group 2) had no Babesia specific maternal antibodies when inoculated at the same age.

Babesia divergens organisms were demonstrated in blood smears from calves in both groups at some point 5 to 10 days p.i. All calves in both groups had B.divergens specific IgM antibodies at 7 to 17 days p.i. as shown by a modified IF-test. Specific IgG antibodies, transferred by colostrum, were found in all calves of Group 1 before inoculation of B.divergens. The IgG titre of these animals increased by a doubling dilution step at 11–25 days p.i. Among calves of Group 2 specific IgG antibodies were found at first between day 9 and 15 p.i. Both IgM and IgG antibody titres had to be investigated since demonstrated IgG antibodies can originate both from maternally transferred antibodies and from actively produced antibodies after an infection.

There was no difference in clinical parameters; parasitaemia, PCV, Hb, and rectal temperature between the groups.

This experiment gives evidence that there can be a resistance to bovine babesiosis in newborn calves independent of maternal antibodies.

Sammanfattning

Omvänd åldersresistens hos nötkreatur mot infektion med Babesia-arter är ett sedan länge observerat fenomen vars natur är oklar. Maternalt överförda antikroppar har av några författare ansetts kunna vara orsak till resistensen hos kalvar, åtminstone under de 2 första levnadsmånaderna. För att studera betydelsen av maternalt överförda specifika antikroppar infekterades 2 grupper nyfödda kalvar om 5 djur i vardera gruppen med B.divergens. Djuren i båda grupperna infekterades av en Babesiastam som visats kunna ge klinisk babesios hos splenektomerade kalvar. Den ena gruppen hade maternala, med råmjölken överförda, specifika antikroppar. Den andra gruppen fick råmjölk från kor utan antikroppar mot B.divergens. Parasitemi, hematokrit, Hb och rektal-temperatur mättes. Serologiskt undersöktes förekomst av specifika IgM och IgG antikroppar med en modifierad IF-teknik. Med hjälp av den tidpunkt då IgM antikroppar började uppträda kunde antikroppsförekomst orsakad av Babesia infektion hos kalven särskiljas från maternala, passivt överförda specifika IgG antikroppar.

Kalvarna i båda grupperna blev infekterade, men inga djur reagerade kliniskt efter infektionen. Specifika IgM antikroppar påvisades hos kalvar från båda grupperna 7–17 dagar efter infektion. Specifika IgG antikroppar påvisades från början hos kalvar med maternala antikroppar och 9–15 dagar efter infektion hos kalvar utan maternala antikroppar. Vid motsvarande tidpunkt sågs en titerstegring av IgG hos kalvar med maternala antikroppar. Inga andra skillnader mellan grupperna iakttogs. Infekterade nyfödda kalvar kan bli kroniska smittbärare av B.divergens, vilket visades genom splenektomi av en kalv 5 månader efter infektionen.

Denna undersökning visar att det finns en resistens mot B.divergens hos späda kalvar, vilken är oberoende av specifika maternala antikroppar.

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Acknowledgment

Among the persons who made this experiment possible, I especially want to thank Dr. T. Morén for producing fresh strains of B.divergens, Professor P. Holtenius and his staff for providing calves and free access to the facilities at the Department of Cattle and Sheep Diseases, Professor O. Holmberg for providing newborn calves, Ms. E. Orstadius and Ms. K. Candelöf for technical assistance and Ms. G. Wikne for typing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Dan A. Christensson.

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Christensson, D.A. Clinical and Serological Response after Experimental Inoculation with Babesia Divergens of Newborn Calves with and without Maternal Antibodies. Acta Vet Scand 28, 381–392 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03548606

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Keywords

  • inverse age resistance
  • IgM
  • IgG antibodies