Repeat tuberculin skin testing leads to desensitisation in naturally infected tuberculous cattle which is associated with elevated interleukin-10 and decreased interleukin-1 beta responses

Michael Coad, Derek Clefford, Shelley G. Rhodes, R. Glyn Hewinson, H. Martin Vordermeier, Adam O. Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The principal surveillance tool used to control bovine tuberculosis in cattle is the removal of animals that provide a positive response to the tuberculin skin-test. In this study we performed a longitudinal investigation of the immunological and diagnostic consequences of repeated short-interval skin-tests in cattle naturally infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Tuberculin skin-test positive cattle were subjected to up to four further intradermal comparative cervical skin-tests at approximately 60-day intervals. A significant progressive reduction in the strength of the skin-test was observed after successive tests. In contrast, the magnitude of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) responses was not influenced by repeat skin-testing either transiently around the time of each skin-test or longitudinally following repeated tests. A significant boost in blood interleukin-10 (IL-10) production was observed within 3 days following each skin-test although the magnitude of this boosted response returned to lower levels by day 10 post-test. The application of a novel multiplex assay to simultaneously measure seven cytokines and chemokines also identified that skin-testing resulted in a significant and progressive reduction in antigen specific interleukin-1 β (IL-1 β) whilst confirming stable IFN-γ and elevated IL-10 responses in the blood. Therefore, we have demonstrated that in cattle naturally infected with M. bovis, repeat short-interval skin-testing can lead to a progressive reduction in skin-test responsiveness which has potential negative consequences for the detection of infected animals with marginal or inconclusive skin-test responses. The desensitising effect is associated with decreased IL-1 β and elevated IL-10 responses, but importantly, does not influence antigen specific IFN-γ responses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Research
Volume41
Issue number2
Early online date20 Oct 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Gamma-interferon
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-1β
  • Skin-testing

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