Defining immune correlates during latent and active chlamydial infection in sheep

Ovine enzootic abortion (OEA) caused by the obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen Chlamydia abortus (C. abortus), is an endemic disease in most sheep-rearing countries worldwide. Following infection, C. abortus establishes a complex host-pathogen interaction with a latent phase in non-pregnant sheep followed by an active disease phase in the placenta during pregnancy leading to OEA. Improved knowledge of the host-pathogen interactions at these different phases of disease will accelerate the development of new diagnostic tests and vaccines to control OEA. Current evidence indicates that cellular immunity is essential for controlling C. abortus infection. We have previously described a model of mucosal (intranasal) infection of non-pregnant sheep with C. abortus that replicates the latent and active phases of OEA. We have investigated antigen-specific recall responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in sheep infected with C. abortus via the intranasal route to determine how these change during the latent and active phases of disease. By analysing cytokines associated with the major CD4+ve Thelper (Th) cell subsets (Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ/ Th1; Interleukin (IL)-4/ Th2; IL-17A/ Th17; IL-10/ Tregulatory) we show that there is selective activation of PBMC producing IFN-γ and/or IL-10 during the latent phase following infection. These cytokines are also elevated during the disease phase and while they are produced by sheep that are protected from OEA, they are also produced by sheep that abort, highlighting the difficulties in finding specific cellular immunological correlates of protection for complex intracellular pathogens.
Refereed journal
Output Tags
WP 2.2 Livestock production, health, welfare and disease control (RESAS 2016-21)