J Vet Sci.  2006 Sep;7(3):233-239. 10.4142/jvs.2006.7.3.233.

Unique features of bovine lymphocytes exposed to a staphylococcal enterotoxin

  • 1Department of Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.
  • 2Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844, USA. gbohach@uidaho.edu
  • 3Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.
  • 4Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA.
  • 5Animal Health Research, LG Life Sciences Ltd., Daejeon 305-380, Korea.


We previously demonstrated that stimulation of bovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with staphylococcal enterotoxin C (SEC), led to an inversion of the CD4(+):CD8(+) T cell ratio and generation of an atypical CD8(+) T cell subpopulation expressing CD26. In the present study, we examined T cell apoptosis and proliferation profiles of PBMC subpopulations in cultures stimulated with SEC. Unlike when stimulated with concanavalin A, nucleic acid synthesis in bovine PBMC cultures stimulated with SEC was low during the first four days but increased greatly on day 5. In contrast, nucleic acid synthesis in human PBMC cultures stimulated with SEC increased continuously. To investigate the mechanism of delayed bovine T cell proliferation, various cell phenotypes were monitored. The inversion of the bovine CD4(+):CD8(+) T cell ratio in PBMC cultures stimulated by SEC was associated with higher proliferation and lower apoptosis of CD8(+) T cells compared to CD4(+) T cells. The mRNA levels for interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 were sustained over 4 days but IL-12 mRNA levels dropped to background on day 2. These data suggest that SEC induces a prolonged Th-2- biased microenvironment, and together with the inversion of the bovine CD4(+):CD8(+) T cell ratios in bovine PBMC cultures with SEC, may in part explain the inability of the mammary immune system to establish an effective response to Staphylococcus aureus infections.


bovine; enterotoxin; mastitis; Staphylococcus aureus; superantigen
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