Immunohistochemical characterization of tuberculous and non-tuberculous lesions in naturally infected European badgers (Meles meles)

P. J. Canfield*, M. J. Day, D. Gavier-Widen, R. G. Hewinson, M. A. Chambers

*Corresponding author for this work

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13 Citations (SciVal)


A panel of species cross-reactive antibodies was established for the immunohistochemical labelling of phagocytic and lymphoid cells in formalin-fixed normal badger tissues. These reagents were used to investigate the immunopathogenesis of both tuberculous and non-tuberculous granulomas in badgers. In normal badger tissues, antisera specific for the CD79a and CD79b epitopes strongly labelled follicular B lymphocytes and plasma cells in lymph nodes, bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue and Peyer's patches. Rabbit anti-dog IgG, IgM and IgA, and goat anti-human lambda light chain strongly labelled plasma cells, but goat anti-ferret IgA produced weak labelling. Interfollicular and occasional follicular lymphocytes and gut intraepithelial lymphocytes expressed the CD3 epitope. Mouse anti-human HLA-DR (MHC Class II) antigen strongly labelled macrophages, some follicular lymphocytes and some intestinal and respiratory epithelial cells. Mouse anti-human calprotectin (MAC387) labelled a limited number of macrophages. In infected badgers, all fusiform to angular macrophages (epithelioid cells) of all tuberculous granulomas strongly expressed HLA-DR antigen, but only a small, variable proportion of these were labelled by MAC387 antiserum. Lymphocytes in the peripheral rims of granulomas and those scattered sparsely amongst the epithelioid cells were labelled primarily with CD3 antiserum. Peripheral plasma cells were more common in larger than in smaller tubercles and usually expressed IgA or IgG. Small unencapsulated siliceous granulomas, which were present in both tuberculous and non-tuberculous badgers, consisted of aggregates of round to polyhedral epithelioid cells expressing the MHC Class II but not the MAC387 epitope. Granulomas caused by infection with presumed fungal adiaspores of Chrysosporium sp. consisted of aggregates of variably shaped macrophages that expressed MHC Class II antigen, but not only a proportion expressed MAC387 antigen. The majority of lymphocytes within the peripheral rims of these granulomas were T cells, accompanied by sparse to moderate numbers of plasma cells that primarily expressed IgG or IgA. In conclusion, species cross-reactive antibodies can be used to identify the cellular components of tuberculous and non-tuberculous granulomas. Immunohistochemical examination failed to distinguish small tuberculous granulomas from adiaspiromycotic granulomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-264
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2002


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