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CD4+ T-cell responses to foot-and-mouth disease virus in vaccinated cattle

We have performed a series of studies to investigate the role of CD4(+) T-cells in the immune response to foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) post-vaccination. Virus neutralizing antibody titres (VNT) in cattle vaccinated with killed FMD commercial vaccine were significantly reduced and class switching delayed as a consequence of rigorous in vivo CD4(+) T-cell depletion. Further studies were performed to examine whether the magnitude of T-cell proliferative responses correlated with the antibody responses. FMD vaccination was found to induce T-cell proliferative responses, with CD4(+) T-cells responding specifically to the FMDV antigen. In addition, gamma interferon (IFN-γ) was detected in the supernatant of FMDV antigen-stimulated PBMC and purified CD4(+) T-cells from vaccinated cattle. Similarly, intracellular IFN-γ could be detected specifically in purified CD4(+) T-cells after restimulation. It was not possible to correlate in vitro proliferative responses or IFN-γ production of PBMC with VNT, probably as a consequence of the induction of T-independent and T-dependent antibody responses and antigen non-specific T-cell responses. However, our studies demonstrate the importance of stimulating CD4(+) T-cell responses for the induction of optimum antibody responses to FMD-killed vaccines.

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