Dynamics of anti-Neospora caninum antibodies during gestation in chronically infected dairy cows
Santolaria Blasco, Pilar
Bech Sàbat, Gregori
Castro Hermida, J. A.
Yániz Pérez de Albéniz, Jesús
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The dynamics of antibody production against Neospora caninum during the gestation period was examined in chronically infected dairy cows. Data were obtained from 86 pregnant parous dairy cows, 21 of which had suffered abortion. The cows belonged to two herds in which a diagnosis of N. caninum infection
had been previously confirmed in aborted foetuses. Pregnancy diagnosis and blood collection were performed on post-insemination Days 40, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, and at parturition or until the time of abortion detection. Blood plasma was tested for antibodies against N. caninum using ELISA. The non-aborting cows were divided into two groups according to whether their antibody values in the second half of gestation had increased or not, while aborting cows were classified as those showing an antibody peak before abortion or those not showing a pre-abortion peak. Differences in antibody values throughout pregnancy in each group of non-aborting and aborting cows were analysed by GLM repeated measures of analysis of variance. While 32 non-aborting cows (49%) showed a significant and consistent increase in anti-Neospora antibody values during the second half of gestation, antibody values in the remaining 33 non-aborting cows were practically constant throughout gestation. An antibody peak around abortion was observed in 11 aborting cows (52%), while antibody values in the remaining 10 aborting cows were similar before and at abortion. Seroprevalence fluctuations, defined as seronegative blood samples at some point during the gestation period, were, furthermore, observed in 2 aborting and 11 non-aborting cows. Our results indicate two clearly distinguishable types of humoral immune dynamics throughout gestation: an increased or flat production of antibodies during the second half of gestation in non-aborting animals and before abortion in aborting cows. The observation that some Neospora-infected dams can exhibit negative antibody values at any time during gestation, particularly at parturition or abortion, prompts future studies designed to explore the use of new ELISA strategies at the farm level.