Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is one of the most contagious diseases of cloven footed animals causing significant economic impediment in livestock production system. The immune response to FMD virus (FMDV) infection is regulated by a complex interplay between various cells, cytokines and other immune components. Based on the well established role of Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and Interleukin-21 (IL-21) in viral infections, this study aimed to determine expression level of these cytokines in clinically infected adults and calves; and the results were compared with those in the subclinically infected animals up to 120 days post outbreak (DPO) in a vaccinated cattle herd. The expression level of IFN-γ and IL-21 was assayed on 0, 7, 14, 28, 60, 90, and 120 DPO by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with simultaneous assessment of FMDV structural protein-antibody titer against serotype 'O' by liquid phase blocking ELISA (LPBE) and nonstructural protein-antibody, a differential marker of infection, using r3AB3 indirect ELISA (r3AB3 I-ELISA). Although, the peak expression of IFN-γ was observed on 14 DPO across all categories of animals, the clinically infected animals registered a significant increase in IFN-γ level as compared to the subclinically infected population possibly due to the difference in the extent of virus replication and inflammation. The IL-21 level increased significantly during 14˗28 DPO and highest expression was noticed on 28 DPO. The increase in the expression level of IFN-γ and IL-21 at 28 DPO correlated with the increase in antibody titer as determined by LPBE suggesting the role of these cytokines in augmenting immune response to FMDV infection.

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Immunology and Microbiology


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