Bovine vaginal antibody responses to immunoaffinity-purified surface antigen of Tritrichomonas foetus

J. S. Ikeda, Robert Bondurant, L. B. Corbeil

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24 Scopus citations


Bovine trichomoniasis is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease of cattle caused by the protozoan Tritrichomonas foetus. Currently, diagnosis is most often made by culture. In order to provide a faster immunodiagnostic approach, a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was investigated. A protective surface antigen (TFI.17 antigen) of T. foetus was immunoaffinity purified and used in an ELISA to detect antibodies in vaginal mucus from heifers inoculated with T. foetus. In preliminary studies, antibodies of the immunoglobulin A (IgA) isotype were detected in mucus from all experimentally infected heifers which were tested at 6 weeks postinoculation, whereas IgG1 and IgG2 were not. In addition, IgA responses detected in postinoculation samples were all greater than those detected in preinoculation samples, unlike those detected by a whole-cell antigen ELISA. For these two reasons, IgA antibodies appeared to be useful diagnostically. Further investigation of IgA antibodies used vaginal mucus collected weekly from heifers inoculated intravaginally with 102, 104, or 106 T. foetus organisms. Heifers with positive cultures for T. foetus had similar IgA responses to TF1.17 antigen over the 10 weeks of infection regardless of the initial inoculum dose. This indicates that if the dose is sufficient to establish infection, the magnitude and duration of the immune response are no longer dependent on dose. All of the infected animals receiving all dosages responded with high absorbance values in the IgA anti-TF1.17 antigen ELISA by 6 weeks postinoculation, and all absorbance values remained high at 10 weeks. To determine the duration of the IgA response, four other heifers inoculated with 7 x 106 T. foetus organisms were studied through 24 weeks postinoculation. IgA antibody responses to TF1.17 antigen were still high at 24 weeks, even though some heifers cleared the infection several weeks earlier. These results indicate that experimentally infected heifers produced detectable long-lasting IgA responses to TF1.17 antigen in vaginal mucus, which may be useful in a herd test for the diagnosis of bovine trichomoniasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1158-1163
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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