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New publication in Frontiers in Veterinary Science

15 jun 2022 - 09:40 CET

Parasitemia and associated immune response in pregnant and non-pregnant beef cows naturally infected with Neospora caninum

Ignacio Gual, Lucía María Campero, Yanina Paola Hecker, Javier Regidor-Cerrillo, María Rosa Leunda, Anselmo Carlos Odeón, Carlos Manuel Campero, Susana Torioni de Echaide, Ignacio Eduardo Echaide, Silvia Marcela Estein, Luis Miguel Ortega-Mora and Dadín Prando Moore.


The aim of this longitudinal study was to characterize the parasitemia of Neospora caninum and the associated immunological parameters in naturally infected beef cows for 10 months. The following groups were established: Neospora caninum seropositive pregnant cows (+Preg, n = 7), seropositive non-pregnant cows (+Npreg, n = 7), seronegative pregnant cows (−Preg, n = 4), and seronegative non-pregnant cows (−Npreg, n = 4). Several samples were obtained for absolute and relative leukocyte counting, cytokines IL-10, IL-12, α-TNF, and γ-IFN quantification, specific IgG, IgG1, and IgG2 and avidity and N. caninum DNA molecular detection and quantification. The +Preg group had a higher frequency and concentration of N. caninum DNA in PBMC in the last third of pregnancy compared to +Npreg (p < 0.05), with 22 and 8% of detection, respectively. Parasitemia correlated positively with IgG titers and negatively with IgG1/IgG2 ratio (p < 0.05). On day 222 of the assay, the +Preg group had the lowest total leukocyte counting (p < 0.05). The +Preg group had a higher concentration of IgG and higher avidity in the last third of gestation compared to +Npreg (p < 0.05). Avidity correlated with total IgG and IgG2 (p < 0.05). All +Preg cows gave birth to clinically healthy but seropositive calves before colostrum intake, therefore, the congenital transmission was 100% efficient. Only a complete N. caninum genotype from a placenta and a partial genotype from cow #3 of the group +Preg were achieved by multilocus microsatellite analysis. Overall, N. caninum parasitemia is frequent in seropositive beef cows during the last third of gestation. This correlates with higher antibody levels and a decrease in total leukocyte counting. The precise timing of the parasitemia may be used for diagnosis purposes and/or for design strategies to avoid vertical transmission. Further studies are needed to identify the immune molecular mechanisms that favor parasitemia during gestation in chronically infected cattle.

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