Anatomical distribution of respiratory tract leukocyte cell subsets in neonatal calves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Neonatal calves are highly susceptible to a number of diseases including those that infect via the mucosal surfaces of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. In order to determine appropriate vaccine design and delivery systems, or to identify suitable immunostimulatory methods to combat these infections, a detailed understanding of the immune cell populations present at clinically relevant sites is key.
Few studies have assessed the immune cell composition of the neonatal calf lung and comparisons with circulating immune cells in the blood are lacking. We describe immune cell populations present in the peripheral blood, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and lung tissue of young disease-free calves. Flow cytometric analysis revealed significant differences in cell subset distribution between the peripheral blood and respiratory tract, and between compartments within the respiratory tract. Notably, whereas WC1+  TCR+ T lymphocytes dominate the peripheral blood, both the BAL fluid and lung tissue contained a high proportion of myeloid cells which expressed CD14 and CD172a (SIRP). Very low numbers of tissue myeloid cells expressed MHC Class II in comparison to circulating myeloid cells in the blood. Respiratory tract tissues had low frequencies of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, which were significantly lower than in the blood. Differences in the proportion of NKp46+ natural killer cells were also observed between tissue compartments. In order to target vaccines or immunostimulatory therapeutics appropriately, these differences in immune cell populations in tissue compartments should be taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110090
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Early online date2 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jul 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Neonatal immunity
  • Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex (BRDC)
  • Respiratory tract
  • Myeloid cells
  • Natural killer cells


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