Innate Immunology of Bovine Respiratory Disease

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Ackermann, Mark
Derscheid, Rachel
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Veterinary Pathology
The Department of Veterinary Pathology Labs provides high quality diagnostic service to veterinarians in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. Packages may be delivered through the postage service or by dropping samples off at our lab in Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine campus.
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Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine
Our faculty promote the understanding of causes of infectious disease in animals and the mechanisms by which diseases develop at the organismal, cellular and molecular levels. Veterinary microbiology also includes research on the interaction of pathogenic and symbiotic microbes with their hosts and the host response to infection.
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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
The mission of VDPAM is to educate current and future food animal veterinarians, population medicine scientists and stakeholders by increasing our understanding of issues that impact the health, productivity and well-being of food and fiber producing animals; developing innovative solutions for animal health and food safety; and providing the highest quality, most comprehensive clinical practice and diagnostic services. Our department is made up of highly trained specialists who span a wide range of veterinary disciplines and species interests. We have faculty of all ranks with expertise in diagnostics, medicine, surgery, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, public health, and production medicine. Most have earned certification from specialty boards. Dozens of additional scientists and laboratory technicians support the research and service components of our department.
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Pneumonia is a leading cause of loss to the cattle industry in the United States and Europe. Of cattle diseases, it has the greatest economic impact. Respiratory pathogens can cause serious outbreaks of acute pneumonia in neonatal, weaned and growing calves. Chronic infection leads to debilitation, decreased performance, and culling in older animals. The means to enhance effective and non-injurious immune responses are needed because of the high incidence of pneumonia in cattle, ubiquity of respiratory pathogens, the increasing frequency of antibiotic resistance, and the general expectation by consumers for producers to use antibiotics less frequently. The lung has a wide array of both innate and adaptive immune responses to airborne particulates, vapors, and microbial pathogens. Vaccines can effectively enhance resistance to some pathogens, but not all. More recently, additional attention has been given to innate immune responses and method/regimens that increase innate immune activity. Despite advances in managerial practices, vaccines, and clinical therapies, pneumonia remains a widespread problem and methods to enhance host resistance to pathogen colonization and pneumonia are needed.

There are a variety of factors and conditions that pre-dispose cattle to pneumonia. Cattle have anatomic and cellular differences from humans and other species and are managed in groups/ herds all of which increases susceptibility to microbial pathogens. This review highlights the basic innate immune response of the respiratory tract and newer developments in the understanding of adaptive immune responses of the bovine respiratory tract placing special emphasis on features unique to cattle.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Ackermann, Mark R., Rachel Derscheid, and James A. Roth. "Innate immunology of bovine respiratory disease." Veterinary Clinics: Food Animal Practice 26, no. 2 (2010): 215-228. doi: 10.1016/j.cvfa.2010.03.001. Posted with permission.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2010