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Immune evasion by pathogens of bovine respiratory disease complex

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 January 2008

Subramaniam Srikumaran
Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7040, USA
Clayton L. Kelling
Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905, USA
Aruna Ambagala
Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905, USA


Bovine respiratory tract disease is a multi-factorial disease complex involving several viruses and bacteria. Viruses that play prominent roles in causing the bovine respiratory disease complex include bovine herpesvirus-1, bovine respiratory syncytial virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus and parinfluenza-3 virus. Bacteria that play prominent roles in this disease complex are Mannheimia haemolytica and Mycoplasma bovis. Other bacteria that infect the bovine respiratory tract of cattle are Histophilus (Haemophilus) somni and Pasteurella multocida. Frequently, severe respiratory tract disease in cattle is associated with concurrent infections of these pathogens. Like other pathogens, the viral and bacterial pathogens of this disease complex have co-evolved with their hosts over millions of years. As much as the hosts have diversified and fine-tuned the components of their immune system, the pathogens have also evolved diverse and sophisticated strategies to evade the host immune responses. These pathogens have developed intricate mechanisms to thwart both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune responses of their hosts. This review presents an overview of the strategies by which the pathogens suppress host immune responses, as well as the strategies by which the pathogens modify themselves or their locations in the host to evade host immune responses. These immune evasion strategies likely contribute to the failure of currently-available vaccines to provide complete protection to cattle against these pathogens.

Review Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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