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Changes in lymphocyte subsets in the trachea, pulmonary tissue, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), peripheral blood and bronchial lymph node (BLN) of gnotobiotic calves infected with bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) were analysed by flow cytometry. Following BRSV infection, virus titres in the nasopharynx reached a peak between days 5 and 7 and infection was resolving from day 10. Although calves did not develop signs of clinical respiratory disease, there was evidence of gross pneumonia and histological changes typical of BRSV bronchiolitis, which were most extensive from day 710 of infection. Following BRSV infection there was a recruitment of CD8+ T cells into the trachea and lung, which peaked on day 10 after infection. Thus, there were approximately equal numbers of CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in the lung and trachea of uninfected calves, whereas by day 10 of infection, CD8+ cells outnumbered CD4+ cells by 3:1 in the lungs and 6:1 in the trachea of the infected calves. Although the increase in CD4+ T cells into the lungs was less marked than that of CD8+ T cells, changes in expression of CD45R, CD45RO, L-selectin and interleukin-2 receptors all suggested that CD4+ T cells were activated during BRSV infection. Changes in gamma delta T cells were not observed in BRSV-infected calves. There was a marked increase in B cells in the BLN after infection and BLN CD4+ T cells changed from the majority expressing L-selectin and CD45R in uninfected calves to a predominance of L-selectin- CD45R- CD45RO+ phenotype, 10 days after infection. In conclusion, CD8+ T cells constitute the major lymphocyte subpopulation in the respiratory tract of calves recovering from BRSV infection.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





396 - 403


Animals, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cattle, Cattle Diseases, Flow Cytometry, Immunophenotyping, L-Selectin, Leukocyte Common Antigens, Lung, Lymph Nodes, Receptors, Interleukin-2, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Bovine, T-Lymphocyte Subsets