Interferon-gamma induced by in vitro re-stimulation of CD4+t-cells correlates with in vivo FMD vaccine induced protection of cattle against disease and persistent infection

The immune defense against FMDV has been correlated to the antibody mediated component. However, there are occasions when some animals with high virus neutralising (VN) antibody are not protected following challenge and some with low neutralising antibody which do not succumb to disease. The importance of cell mediated immunity in clinical protection is less clear and so we investigated the source and production of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) in re-stimulated whole blood of FMDV immunized cattle and its correlation to vaccine induced protection and FMDV persistence. We were able to show a positive correlation between IFN-gamma response and vaccine induced protection as well as reduction of long term persistence of FMD virus. When combining this IFN-gamma response in re-stimulated blood with virus neutralizing antibody titer in serum on the day of challenge, a better correlation of vaccine-induced protection with IFN-gamma and VN antibody was predicted. Our investigations also showed that CD4+ T-cells are the major proliferating phenotype and IFN-gamma producing cells.

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