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Research article1998Peer reviewed

Evaluation of various cytokines (IL-6, IFN-alpha, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha) as markers for acute bacterial infection in swine - a possible role for serum interleukin-6

Fossum, C; Wattrang, E; Fuxler, L; Jensen, KT; Wallgren, P


A total of 64 specific pathogen free pigs were divided into eight experimental groups. Pigs in Group I served as non-infected controls while the other 56 pigs were infected intranasally with approximately 7 x 10(8) CFU of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae serotype 2 (strain 700/89) in 1 mi saline. When more than 25% of the infected animals showed clinical signs of disease, i.e. 20 h post infection, 48 of the infected pigs were treated with different antibiotics (8 pigs per group), leaving 8 infected animals untreated, Serum samples collected 0, 10, 20, 28 and 44 h, and 3, 4, 7, 13 and 17 days post infection were analysed for their content of interferon (IFN)-alpha, IFN-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha by immunoassays and interleukin-6 (IL-6) by a bioassay, In addition, the development of specific antibodies was determined in sera. Among the cytokines analysed, the experimental infection only induced detectable serum levels of IL-6, The appearance of IL-6 positive animals coincided with the onset of clinical signs of disease and increased body temperatures. Varying levels of IL-6 (range, 1-220 U ml(-1)) were detected in serum from a majority of the infected pigs (80%). In general, the highest levels of IL-6 were detected in serum collected for 10 or 20 h after infection. Among the animals not treated with antibiotics, the number of pigs displaying IL-6 in serum continued to increase until 28 h post infection and then declined. The duration of the IL-6 response varied between individuals and lasted from eight hours to three days. Treatment with antibiotics that ceased the infection also terminated the IL-6 production in most of the pigs. In a pilot field survey, IL-6 was detected in an approximately 30% of serum samples collected from conventional reared pigs before allocation to finishing units. Thus, serum IL-6 seems to be a potential marker for ongoing bacterial infections in swine. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


pig; interleukin-6; antibiotics; A-pleuropneumoniae

Published in

Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
1998, Volume: 64, number: 2, pages: 161-172

      SLU Authors

    • Fossum, Caroline

      • Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Wattrang, Eva

        • Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
        • Fuxler, Lisbeth

          • Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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