Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 16, 2011
Publication Date: January 20, 2012
Citation: Nonnecke, B.J., Waters, W.R., Goff, J.P., Foote, M.R. 2012. Adaptive immunity in the colostrum-deprived calf: Response to early vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis strain bacille Calmette Guerin and ovalbumin. Journal of Dairy Science. 95(1):221-239. Interpretive Summary: The response of the newborn calf to vaccination is variable and frequently characterized by marginal antibody responses. The present study evaluated effects of colostrum deprivation on functional aspects of the immune system of the preruminant calf, specifically those associated with development of the adaptive response to vaccination. Colostrum-fed and colostrum-deprived calves were vaccinated with two different antigens at less than two days of age to track the development of the adaptive immune response during the first two months of life. Effects of colostrum ingestion on the composition and functional capacities of blood-derived immune cell populations were evaluated for 7 wk following vaccination. Results indicate that the ingestion of colostrum within hours after birth influences the composition and functional capacities of immune cell populations in the preruminant calf affecting its responsiveness to early vaccination. These findings will aide in the development of intervention strategies for improving calf health.
Technical Abstract: Responses of the newborn calf to vaccination are variable and frequently characterized by marginal antibody (Ab) responses. The present study evaluated effects of colostrum ingestion on the adaptive immune response of the preruminant calf to early vaccination. Colostrum-fed (CF) and colostrum-deprived (CD) calves were vaccinated at less than two days of age with Mycobacterium bovis, Pasteur strain of bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) and ovalbumin (OVA), to track the development of the adaptive immune response during the first 8 wk of life. Dams were also vaccinated with BCG pre-partum. At wk 0, serum IgG1, G2, A, and M were elevated in CF calves with IgG1 predominating. In these calves, IgG2, A, and M concentrations decreased with age. CD calves, in contrast, had very low or undetectable serum Ig concentrations at wk 0 that was followed by an age-related increase in IgG1, G2 and M concentrations suggesting endogenous production of these Ig classes. ELISA and immunoblot analyses of Ab response to BCG vaccination indicated that colostrum ingestion was associated with measurable serum anti-mycobacterial Ab in CF calves during the first month postpartum with substantially lower levels at 7 wk of age. Although mycobacteria-specific Ab was undetectable in CD calves at wk 0 it was present at 4 and 7 wk of age suggesting these calves, unlike CF calves, were capable of generating an Ab response to BCG vaccination. Antibody responses of CF and CD calves to vaccination with OVA, an antigen not present in the natural environment of dairy cattle, were of comparable magnitude and characterized by a progressive increase in Ab levels from birth (wk 0) to 7 wk of age. The disparate Ab responses of CF calves to BCG and OVA suggest that maternal antigenic experience/exposure influences Ab responses of the colostrum-fed preruminant calf to early vaccination. Ex vivo, antigen [OVA and M. bovis derived purified protein derivative (PPDB)]-induced interferon (IFN)-gamma and nitric oxide (NO) responses of blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from CF and CD calves were comparable at wk 0 and wk 7. As expected, responses were very low or non-existent at wk 0. Responses for all calves were greater at wk 7 than at wk 0 suggesting a colostrum-independent maturation of cell-mediated immune response capacity of the preruminant calf. The consistently higher percentages of antigen (Ag)-stimulated CD4+, CD8+, and IgM+ cells in generation 3, 4, and 5 at wk 7 versus wk 0 indicates the development of antigen-specific responses of these lymphocyte subsets to early vaccination. Total numbers of blood leukocytes as well as the numbers of lymphocytes and monocytes were unaffected by colostrum feeding; however, granulocyte numbers were higher in CD than CF calves at wk 0. Granulocyte numbers decreased and monocytes numbers increased with age in CD and CF calves. Within the lymphocyte population, only NK+ cell percentages were affected by colostrum ingestion with higher percentages of NK+ cells in CD calves at wk 0 and wk 7. Antigen-induced proliferation of lymphocyte subsets including IgM+ cells was unaffected by colostrum ingestion. In conclusion, colostrum ingestion influences the composition and functional capacities of immune cell populations in the preruminant calf affecting its responsiveness to early vaccination. These findings will aide in the development of intervention strategies for improving calf health.