Cutaneous delayed hypersensitivity reactions of cattle vaccinated with mutant strains of Brucella abortus, using brucellins prepared from various brucellar strains

Norman F. Cheville From the Brucellosis Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Ames, IA 50010.

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Allen E. Jensen From the Brucellosis Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Ames, IA 50010.

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David C. Morfitt From the Brucellosis Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Ames, IA 50010.

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Thomas J. Stabel From the Brucellosis Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Ames, IA 50010.

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Summary

Cutaneous reactivity to brucellin was evaluated in 10-month-old heifers vaccinated with low-virulence mutant strains of Brucella abortus and was compared with brucellin reactions in postparturient cows with active brucellosis. In the cows, the cutaneous lesion was characterized microscopically as severe, acute, serofibrinous vasculitis; dermal lesions at 6, 12, 25, and 48 hours after brucellin injection consisted of endothelial activation and perivascular exudation that led to progressive accumulation of fibrin, monocytes, macrophages, and lymphocytes. In vaccinated heifers, cutaneous tests were done, using standard brucellin, brucellin prepared from strain RB51, and the purified brucellar proteins-31K and superoxide dismutase. Negative-control cattle given saline solution, did not have cutaneous reactions. Standard brucellin induced the most marked reactions in vaccinated heifers. Brucellin from rough strain RB51 caused positive reactions in heifers vaccinated with strain 19, but reactions were variable in other groups. Skin lesions induced by purified superoxide dismutase and 31-kd proteins in vaccinated cattle were not acceptable for diagnosis. Marked variability of test responses in vaccinated cattle precludes field use of this test to determine vaccination status.

Summary

Cutaneous reactivity to brucellin was evaluated in 10-month-old heifers vaccinated with low-virulence mutant strains of Brucella abortus and was compared with brucellin reactions in postparturient cows with active brucellosis. In the cows, the cutaneous lesion was characterized microscopically as severe, acute, serofibrinous vasculitis; dermal lesions at 6, 12, 25, and 48 hours after brucellin injection consisted of endothelial activation and perivascular exudation that led to progressive accumulation of fibrin, monocytes, macrophages, and lymphocytes. In vaccinated heifers, cutaneous tests were done, using standard brucellin, brucellin prepared from strain RB51, and the purified brucellar proteins-31K and superoxide dismutase. Negative-control cattle given saline solution, did not have cutaneous reactions. Standard brucellin induced the most marked reactions in vaccinated heifers. Brucellin from rough strain RB51 caused positive reactions in heifers vaccinated with strain 19, but reactions were variable in other groups. Skin lesions induced by purified superoxide dismutase and 31-kd proteins in vaccinated cattle were not acceptable for diagnosis. Marked variability of test responses in vaccinated cattle precludes field use of this test to determine vaccination status.

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