Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions to Candida albicans are regularly used as an in-vivo indicator of cell-mediated immune function in cattle. Prior immunisation against C. albicans ensures a large clone of antigen-specific memory T cells, resulting in larger DTH responses and positive responses from a greater proportion of cows. Previous experimental results indicate that natural exposure to C. albicans is minimal in cows housed indoors and does not interfere with the interpretation of DTH responses to C. albicans in pre-immunised cows. However, housed cows may have different natural exposure to C. albicans than cows grazing fresh pasture outdoors. To determine if C. albicans is an appropriate antigen for inducing measurable DTH responses in pasture-based cows, DTH responses to C. albicans were assessed in ten cows pre- immunised with C. albicans and ten unimmunised control cows. A greater proportion of immunised versus unimmunised cows mounted a positive DTH response (90% vs. 70%), and responses were larger (P<0.01) and more variable (P<0.05) in immunised cows. Maximum relative double skinfold thickness increased 4.3 mm (±0.7; SEM) and 1.4mm (±0.2) in immunised and unimmunised cows, respectively. The results of this experiment suggest that pasture-based dairy cows in New Zealand have a low background exposure to C. albicans and pre-immunisation with C. albicans is required when using DTH responses as an indicator of cell-mediated immune function in pasture-based cows.

JE, McGowan, BC Hine, BA Mallard, and GA Verkerk

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 74, Napier, 233-238, 2014
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