Effects of bovine respiratory syncytial virus on airway function in neonatal calves

Patrick H. LeBlanc From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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John C. Baker From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Peter R. Gray From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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N. Edward Robinson From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Frederik J. Derksen From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Summary

Respiratory syncytial virus (rsv) infection causes severe lower respiratory tract disease in infants and calves. Neonatal respiratory tract infection in children often produces persistent changes in lung function. The specific objective of this study was to determine whether neonatal calves have transient or persistent alterations in pulmonary function and airway reactivity following rsv infection. Six 2- to 3-day-old Holstein bull calves were inoculated with 10 ml of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (brsv) inoculum (102.7 to 103.8 cell culture infective doses/ml) intranasally and 10 ml of brsv inoculum (104.8 to 105.9 cell culture infective doses/ml) intratracheally for 4 consecutive days, and 5 other calves were sham-inoculated. Prior to inoculation (day 0) and on days 4, 14, and 30 after the last inoculation, body weight (kg), dynamic compliance (Cdyn), pulmonary resistance (RL), and 2 indices of airway reactivity (effective dose [ed] 65Cdyn and ed200RL) were measured. Control calves gained weight progressively throughout the study, whereas rsv-inoculated calves failed to gain weight for 14 days, but equaled control calf weight by 30 days after inoculation. The Cdyn of control calves increased significantly by 30 days, but did not in the rsv-infected calves. Pulmonary resistance was increased significantly at 4, 14, and 30 days, but was unaffected by sham inoculation. The ed65Cdyn and ed200RL indicated an age-dependent increase in reactivity to histamine and an increase in responsiveness in the infected group beginning at 14 days and persisting until the end of the study. The data indicate that brsv causes airway obstruction and hyperreactivity in neonatal calves, which persists for at least 30 days following viral exposure.

Summary

Respiratory syncytial virus (rsv) infection causes severe lower respiratory tract disease in infants and calves. Neonatal respiratory tract infection in children often produces persistent changes in lung function. The specific objective of this study was to determine whether neonatal calves have transient or persistent alterations in pulmonary function and airway reactivity following rsv infection. Six 2- to 3-day-old Holstein bull calves were inoculated with 10 ml of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (brsv) inoculum (102.7 to 103.8 cell culture infective doses/ml) intranasally and 10 ml of brsv inoculum (104.8 to 105.9 cell culture infective doses/ml) intratracheally for 4 consecutive days, and 5 other calves were sham-inoculated. Prior to inoculation (day 0) and on days 4, 14, and 30 after the last inoculation, body weight (kg), dynamic compliance (Cdyn), pulmonary resistance (RL), and 2 indices of airway reactivity (effective dose [ed] 65Cdyn and ed200RL) were measured. Control calves gained weight progressively throughout the study, whereas rsv-inoculated calves failed to gain weight for 14 days, but equaled control calf weight by 30 days after inoculation. The Cdyn of control calves increased significantly by 30 days, but did not in the rsv-infected calves. Pulmonary resistance was increased significantly at 4, 14, and 30 days, but was unaffected by sham inoculation. The ed65Cdyn and ed200RL indicated an age-dependent increase in reactivity to histamine and an increase in responsiveness in the infected group beginning at 14 days and persisting until the end of the study. The data indicate that brsv causes airway obstruction and hyperreactivity in neonatal calves, which persists for at least 30 days following viral exposure.

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