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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Protection against abortion linked to gamma interferon production in pregnant dairy cows naturally infected with Neospora caninum.

Many immunological aspects of pregnancy, such as the role played by gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) in abortion, are not well understood. Neospora caninum is an intracellular protozoan considered to be among the main causes of abortion in cattle worldwide. The present study analyzes the interaction between IFN-gamma production and N. caninum infection in naturally infected pregnant cows. Data were obtained from 126 pregnant cows: 86 seropositive and 40 seronegative for the parasite. Pregnancy diagnosis and blood sample collection were performed on days 40, 90, 120, 150, 180 and 210 post-insemination or until the time of abortion detection. Plasma was tested for antibodies against N. caninum and IFN-gamma. Interferon-gamma was detected at some point along the pregnancy in 16 (19%) of the 86 Neospora-seropositive cows yet was undetectable in the 40 seronegative animals. Of the 126 pregnancies examined, 22 (17.5%) ended in abortion. Abortion occurred in 24.4% of seropositive cows (21/86) and in 2.5% of seronegative animals (1/40). Significant (P<0.0001) interaction was observed between Neospora-seropositivity and IFN-gamma production. Based on the odds ratio, the risk of abortion was 15.6 times higher in seropositive cows not producing IFN-gamma than in seronegative animals, whereas neosporosis had no effect in seropositive cows with IFN-gamma production. A significant (P=0.001) negative effect of IFN-gamma production on the Neospora titer was furthermore observed in the 65 non-aborting seropositive animals. These results indicate that IFN-gamma production affords protection against abortion in Neospora-infected cows and also point to a reduced humoral immune response to N. caninum during gestation in cows producing IFN-gamma.[1]


  1. Protection against abortion linked to gamma interferon production in pregnant dairy cows naturally infected with Neospora caninum. López-Gatius, F., Almería, S., Donofrio, G., Nogareda, C., García-Ispierto, I., Bech-Sàbat, G., Santolaria, P., Yániz, J.L., Pabón, M., de Sousa, N.M., Beckers, J.F. Theriogenology (2007) [Pubmed]
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