Eighty bovine fetuses with presumed protozoal infections from a previous 2-year retrospective study were examined by immunohistochemistry using antisera against Neospora caninum. In 66 (83%) of the fetuses, protozoa were found that reacted positively with anti-N. caninum sera. In three (4%) additional fetuses, protozoa identified as Sarcocystis species did not react, and in two fetuses (3%) single protozoal clusters were found only in hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides. A group of 20 fetuses were chosen for further evaluation. They included 14 fetuses from the first group of 80 fetuses plus six additional fetuses that had large numbers of protozoa in the fetal brain. The 20 fetuses were examined immunohistochemically with antisera to N. caninum, Hammondia hammondi, and Toxoplasma gondii. Protozoa from 3/20 fetuses, identified as Sarcocystis species, failed to react with any antisera. In 16/20 fetuses protozoa reacted positively to antisera against N. caninum, and in most cases reacted to H. hammondi, and weakly to one or more of the antisera against T. gondii. Thick-walled protozoal tissue cysts were found in the brain of four of these 16 fetuses by transmission electron microscopy. The cyst wall morphology was comparable to N. caninum. The results suggested that a single protozoal parasite of unknown identity was responsible for most of the bovine abortions. By immunohistochemistry, the unknown protozoon reacted most strongly and consistently to N. caninum antisera, but was antigenically distinct from N. caninum. Ultrastructurally, tissue cysts found in four fetuses most closely resembled Neospora caninum.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Mar 1991|
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