Objective—To assess the effect of maternal cells or cellular components on neonatal immune responses to intracellular pathogens in calves.
Animals—15 Holstein calves.
Procedures—Calves were fed whole colostrum, frozen colostrum, or cell-free colostrum within 4 hours after birth. Leukocytes were obtained from calves before feeding colostrum and 1, 2, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after ingestion. Proliferative responses against bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and mycobacterial purified protein derivatives were evaluated. Dams received a vaccine containing inactivated BVDV, but were not vaccinated against mycobacterial antigens.
Results—All calves had essentially no IgG in circulation at birth, but comparable and substantial concentrations by day 1. Calves that received whole colostrum had enhanced responses to BVDV antigen 1 and 2 days after ingestion of colostrum. In contrast, calves that received frozen colostrum or cell-free colostrum did not respond to BVDV. No differences were identified among the 3 groups in response to mycobacterial antigens.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that transfer of live maternal cells from colostrum to neonatal calves enhanced responses to antigens against which the dams had previously responded (BVDV), but not to antigens to which the dams were naïve (mycobacterial purified protein derivatives). Results suggested that cell-mediated immune transfer to neonates can be enhanced by maternal vaccination.