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Johne's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gut caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Symptoms include wasting, diarrhoea, loss of condition and eventual death. Three forms of Johne's disease have been described in sheep - paucibacillary, multibacillary and asymptomatic. The paucibacillary form is characterized by an inflammatory, Th1-type immune response. The multibacillary form of the disease, which disseminates the infection, is characterized by macrophage infiltration mediated by a Th2-type immune response, and asymptomatic animals have no clinical symptoms or pathology but are infected with MAP. What determines these three forms of the disease is unknown. To further understand these differences, we used real-time RT-PCR to compare the expression of thirteen cytokine and cytokine-related genes in ileal tissue from sheep with the three forms of the disease.