Quantitative analysis of cytokine mRNA expression and protozoan DNA load in Theileria parva-infected cattle

Shinji Yamada, Satoru Konnai, Saiki Imamura, Martin Simuunza, Mwelwa Chembensofu, Amos Chota, Andrew Nambota, Misao Onuma, Kazuhiko Ohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Theileria parva (T. parva) causes a highly serious bovine disease called East Coast fever (ECF), which is characterized by pyrexia, dyspnea and cachexia and is of great economic importance in African countries. We hypothesize that the clinical symptoms of ECF could be explained by a cytokine dysregulation. In this study, we investigated the relationship between T. parva DNA load and expression levels of cytokine mRNAs in leukocytes from experimentally infected calves by quantitative PCR. The p104 gene, which encodes the T. parva 104 kDa microneme-rhoptry protein, was detected in cattle blood from day 10 after T. parva-infected tick infestation, and the protozoan DNA load was increased together with severity of disease. The mRNA expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6, were up-regulated with protozoan DNA load increasing. In addition, the level of a type-2 cytokine (IL-10) transcript was also increased during the acute phase. In contrast, the down-regulation or no detectable levels of the expression of type-1 cytokines, such as IL-2 and interferon (IFN)-γ were observed in T. parva-infected animals. Thus, our observations indicated that high protozoan load and resulting intense inflammatory responses might be involved in the severity of clinical signs observed in T. parva-infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan


  • Bovine
  • Cytokine
  • Theileria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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