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Humoral immune responses following experimental infection of goats with Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae

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Borich, S.M.; Harrison, J.C.; March, J.B.

Goats housed in microbiologically secure facilities were experimentally endobronchially infected with Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (Mccp), causal agent of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP). The animals were monitored over an 8-week period post-infection (p.i.). Elevated temperatures were observed 2-7 days p.i., reaching a maximum of 41.5 degrees celcius in one animal (1884). By 8 weeks p.i. the infection was successfully cleared, with no Mccp being recovered from the lungs, serum or nasal passages. Mccp was not isolated from serum throughout the experiment, either directly by culture or indirectly via polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Humoral immune responses against Mccp capsular polysaccharide (CPS) were generally poor when measured by ELISA. CPS antigen was present in the serum of all infected animals early in the infection (day 14 p.i.), although in one animal (1855) CPS antigen persisted throughout. This was the only animal to exhibit a serious cough (day 5-19 p.i.). Successful diagnosis of CCPP was achieved using two different types of latex agglutination test (CPS antibody and CPS antigen detection test), immunoblotting and a blocking ELISA, although the latter lacked sensitivity until later in the infection (35-40 days p.i.). Only a single animal (1855) was detected positive using the current complement fixation test (CFT). Strong immune responses to protein antigens were detected by IgG and IgM immunoblotting from the first time point at day 14 p.i. IgM immunodominant bands of 220, 85, 62 and 40 kDa were observed in the 3 infected animals and from CFT-positive CCPP field sera. Band intensity gradually diminished throughout the experiment. IgG immunodominant bands of 108, 70, 62, 44, 40 and 23 kDa were shared between experimentally-infected and field sera, with band intensity either remaining unchanged or increasing from day 14 p.i. These bands were not present using pre-infection sera. Of the diagnostic tests used, only the CPS antibody detection latex agglutination test and IgG immunoblotting gave positive diagnoses throughout the entire period post-infection (days 14-53 p.i.).