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Immunological responses of sheep to Haemonchus contortus

  • H. D. F. H. SCHALLIG (a1)


Infections with Haemonchus contortus are a major constraint on ruminant health world-wide. Young lambs are very sensitive to Haemonchus infection. Older lambs and sheep acquire immunity after a continuous or seasonal exposure to the parasite. The mechanisms underlying immunity are still not completely understood. Antibodies, in particular local IgA and IgE, certainly play a role. The role of IgG is less clear. Lymphocyte proliferation responses seem to correlate to immunity. Sheep that have high antigen-induced lymphocyte responses have a low susceptibility to infection. Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated that immunity against H. contortus is associated with mastocytosis and hypersensitivity reactions. More recently, increasing attention is being paid to the role of cytokines (interleukins and γ- interferon) in the activation of specific defence mechanisms. Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) assays to study cytokine mRNA expression have become available. The inability of young lambs to mount a significant Th2 response, which is normally characterized by high IgE levels, mastocytosis and eosinophilia, may account for the phenomenon of unresponsiveness in these animals.


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Immunological responses of sheep to Haemonchus contortus

  • H. D. F. H. SCHALLIG (a1)


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