Study Title:

Bovine Colostrum Supports Interferon Production

Study Abstract

IFN-gamma plays an important role in cellular immunity contributing to microorganism elimination. We have previously reported that bovine colostrum contains high levels of IFN-gamma as well as immunoglobulin. Lymphocytes are potent producers of IFN-gamma, so establishing the lymphocyte population in colostrum will help to identify the source of colostral cytokines. In this study, we used flow cytometric analysis to quantify the population of three types of lymphocytes found in colostrum; namely, CD4 (Th) cells, CD8 (cytotoxic T) cells, and gammadelta-T cells. We also quantified the concentration of colostral IFN-gamma using ELISA. IFN-gamma concentrations were measured in colostrum obtained from 96 healthy Holstein cows; the levels tended to decrease on the first day post-parturition. Flow cytometric analysis showed that many gammadelta-T- and CD8-positive cells were present in the colostrum, and that the CD4/CD8 ratio was low. The ratios of CD8- and gammadelta-T-positive cells to cells of other types decreased during the 5 days after parturition, but that of CD4-positive cells showed no change during the observation period. To identify IFN-gamma-expressing colostral lymphocytes, we used magnetic separation technology to separate the lymphocytes (CD4, CD8 and gammadelta-T) from colostral cells, then examined them for IFN-gamma mRNA expression with real-time PCR (RT-PCR). RT-PCR analysis revealed potent expression of the IFN-gamma gene in CD8-positive cells, reaching higher levels than in CD4- or gammadelta-T-positive cells. These results suggest that the CD8-positive T cells in colostrum play a role as producers of IFN-gamma.

Study Information

Hagiwara K, Domi M, Ando J.
Bovine colostral CD8-positive cells are potent IFN-gamma-producing cells.
Vet Immunol Immunopathol.
2008 July
Department of Veterinary Microbiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, 582 Midorimachi, Bunkyodai, Ebetsu-shi, Hokkaido 069-8501, Japan.

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