Evolution of T lymphocytes and cytokine expression in classical swine fever (CSF) virus infection

This study characterized the cell-mediated immune response in pigs inoculated with the Alfort 187 isolate of classical swine fever (CSF) virus. Quantitative changes in the T-lymphocyte population (CD3(+), CD4(+) and CD8(+)) and qualitative changes in cytokine expression (IL-2, IL-4 and IFNγ) by these cells in serum, thymus and spleen were demonstrated. These changes coincided spatially and temporally with previously described quantitative and qualitative changes in monocyte-macrophage populations, thus demonstrating the contribution of the two cell populations to lymphoid depletion. Moreover, examination of cytokine expression in thymus and spleen samples revealed a type I cell-mediated immune response in the early and middle stages of the experiment, giving way to a type 2 immune response towards the end of the experiment; these findings, which accorded with the serological results and lymphopenia, may influence the delayed humoral response characteristic of CSF.

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