Objective—To determine whether passive transfer of IgG in neonatal kittens affects plasma opsonic capacity and neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst responses to bacteria in vitro.
Animals—22 kittens from 6 specific pathogen-free queens.
Procedure—Kittens were randomized at birth into the following treatment groups: colostrum-fed, colostrum-deprived, or colostrum-deprived supplemented with feline or equine IgG. Blood samples were collected at intervals from birth to 56 days of age. Plasma IgG concentrations were determined by radial immunodiffusion assay. Neutrophil function was assessed by a flow cytometry assay providing simultaneous measurement of bacteria-induced phagocytosis and oxidative burst. The opsonic capacity of kitten plasma was determined in an opsonophagocytosis assay with bacteria incubated in untreated or heat-inactivated plasma.
Results—Among treatment groups, there were no significant differences in neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst responses to bacteria or opsonic capacity of plasma. In all samples of plasma, inactivation of complement and other heat-labile opsonins significantly reduced the opsonic capacity. Plasma IgG concentrations in kittens did not correlate with neutrophil function or plasma opsonic capacity before or after inactivation of complement.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The plasma opsonic capacity and neutrophil phagocytic and oxidative burst responses in vitro of kittens receiving passive transfer of IgG via colostrum intake or IgG supplementation and those deprived of colostrum were similar. The alternate complement pathway or other heat-labile opsonins may be more important than IgG in bacterial opsonization and phagocytosis. ( Am J Vet Res 2003;64:538–543)