Kinetics of IgM and IgG responses to experimental and naturally acquired Rickettsia rickettsii infection in dogs

Breitschwerdt, E.B.; Levy, M.G.; Davidson, M.G.; Walker, D.H.; Burgdorfer, W.; Curtis, B.C.; Babineau, C.A.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 51(8): 1312-1316


ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9645
PMID: 2117411
Document Number: 366476
The kinetics of specific IgM and IgG antibody response was characterized in four 9-month-old Beagles after inoculation of 2 .times. 102 plaque-forming units (PFU) of Sheila Smith strain of Rickettsia rickettsii. Immunoglobulin M antibodies were first detected by indirect immunoflorescence on postinoculation (PI) day 9, peaked by PI day 20, and were no longer detectable by PI day 80. Immunoglobulin G antibodies became detectable by PI day 80. Immunoglobulin G antibodies became detectable between PIU days 22 and 28 peaked, by PI day 42, and decreased gradually through PI day 130. Subsequent challenges with R. rickettsii on PI days 216 (2 .times. 102 PFU/dog) and 1,029 (5 .times. 104 tissue culture infective dose [TCID50]/dog) resulted in slightly different serologic responses. The initial challenge exposure failed to increase the concentration of IgG antibodies and induced only low concentrations of IgM antibodies. After the second challenge inoculation, IgM antibodies were not detectable and the concentration IgG antibodies increased slightly. Clinical abnormalities and seroconversion were documented in control dogs following each challenge exposure. Examination of acute and convalescent serum samples from 55 dogs in which Rocky Mountain spotted fever was suspected clinically suggested that sole evalution of IgM antibodies in acute-phase serum would result in inaccurate diagnoses because of false-positive and -negative results. Use of a composite conjugate that detects IgM and IgG antibodies to R. rickettsii appears to be satisfactory for diagnostic purposes; however, concurrent quantitation of IgM antibodies may facilitate serodiagnosis in a select group of dogs in which a four-fold increase in convalescent antibody titer is not detected by use of the composite conjugate. With the exception of a dog with a serum antibody titer of 1:8, 192, we were unable to detect IgM or IgG antibodies in CSF samples from 9 dogs with experimentally and 3 dogs with naturally acquired infections.

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