Antibody responses against respiratory bovine coronavirus (RBCV) infections were monitored in cattle from the onset of a naturally occurring severe shipping fever (SF) epizootic to complete recovery of affected cattle or fatal outcomes. The infection with RBCV was detected in nasal secretions of 86 cattle, and 81 of them developed acute respiratory tract disease, including fatal pneumonia. Cattle nasally shedding RBCV at the beginning of the epizootic experienced characteristic primary immune responses with specific antibodies for hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) and spike (S) glycoproteins. Virus shedding in nasal secretions of the majority of the cattle ceased between days 7 and 14 with the appearance of HE- and S-specific antibodies. Nasal samples and lung tissues from 9 of the 10 fatal cases had high titers of RBCV, but these cattle had only IgM responses to RBCV infections. Cattle remaining negative in RBCV isolation tests entered this epizootic with antibodies against HE and S. Protection against respiratory tract disease was apparently associated with high level of opsonic and virus-neutralizing IgG2. The HE and S glycoproteins were recognized earliest by the bovine immune system while the N protein induced antibody responses during the later stage of initial infection and the early stage of reinfection. The membrane (M) glycoprotein was the least immunogenic of the major viral structural proteins.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2000
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