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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1997

Bovine leukemia virus: Early reflections in blood after an experimental infection of calves

Klintevall, K; Fuxler, L; Fossum, C


In order to study early alterations in the blood following infection with bovine leukemia virus (BLV) in the natural host, 15 calves were inoculated with blood from a BLV-positive donor cow. The humoral immunological response was followed by ELISA for 2 months. Seroconversion to BLV was demonstrated at 4-5 weeks post-infection. Total and differential leukocyte counts were performed. Acute lymphocytosis was observed at the time of seroconversion in the majority of the experimental calves. By the aid of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), the proportion as well as the total number of lymphoid cells were studied in four of the calves; applying analytical flow cytometry. At the time of seroconversion the percentage of B-cells increased from 19.1 +/- 7.5% to 37.9 +/- 15.8%, and the T-cells (CD2(+)) decreased from 36.7 +/- 7.3% to 22.7 +/- 6.0%, the latter being attributable to decreases in the percentage of CD4(+) as well as CD8(+) T-cells for the infected calves together. Subsequently, altered B/T ratios were observed. In one of the calves an increase in the absolute number of CD5(+) cells coincided with an increase in total B-cells. The early phenotypic alterations in lymphocyte subsets, before and after seroconversion to BLV, were comparable to those of non-lymphocytotic and persistent lymphocytotic cattle, respectively. Sera from 15 calves were tested for the presence of interferon (IFN), as measured by antiviral activity. BLV does not appear to induce the production of IFN.


bovine leukemia virus; experimental infection; immunological response; lymphocyte subsets; phenotypic alterations; interferon

Published in

Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
1997, Volume: 20, number: 2, pages: 119-130

      SLU Authors

    • Fuxler, Lisbeth

      • Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Fossum, Caroline

        • Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Clinical Science

      Publication Identifiers


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