Humoral immune responses of sheep to natural bluetongue virus (BTV) infection were studied on a temporal basis. The temporal development of viral protein-specific IgG was determined by western immunoblotting; virus neutralization and agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) were conducted for comparative purposes. Prior to the emergence of the arthropod vector and the associated transmission of BTV, virus-neutralizing antibody was absent from all sentinel sheep; 3 sheep had pre-existing AGID antibody and all sheep had IgG, specific for 4 viral proteins, as determined by immunoblotting. Following emergence of the BTV vector, 9 of 11 sheep became infected, as determined by virus isolation, with BTV. All sheep developed virus-neutralizing and AGID antibody. However, only those sheep with a demonstrable viremia experienced an increase in viral protein-specific antibody. Development of viral protein-specific IgG varied with the individual animal and no obvious correlation between a specific response and protective immunity or viral clearance was noted. From a diagnostic viewpoint, the immunoblotting procedure was superior in identifying past exposure to BTV, as compared with neutralization and AGID. In addition, the application of immunoblotting to paired serum samples appeared to be a sensitive indicator of viremia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology