Bovine herpesvirus-1-induced pharyngeal tonsil lesions in neonatal and weanling calves.

Journal of comparative pathology

PubMedID: 1602058

Schuh JC, Bielefeldt Ohmann H, Babiuk LA, Doige CE. Bovine herpesvirus-1-induced pharyngeal tonsil lesions in neonatal and weanling calves. J Comp Pathol. 1992;106(3):243-53.
The potential involvement of the pharyngeal tonsil in the pathogenesis of bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) infection was examined in neonatal and weanling calves infected by intranasal aerosol. Calves were monitored from days 1 to 5, and on day 6 (neonates) or 8 (weanlings) and, in a second trial at day 4.5, by histology, electron microscopy, immunocytochemistry and virus isolation. Mucosal lesions of neonates were similar to, but less extensive than, those of weanling calves. Loss of microvilli and goblet cells, with minimal epithelial erosions as early as day 1, progressed to necrosis of epithelium and adjacent lymphoid tissue, and leucocyte exudation. Lesions and clinical disease were progressive up to and including day 6 in neonates, but resolving in weanlings on days 5 and 8. By transmission electron microscopy, the physical characteristics of the phagocytic cells appeared similar in both age groups, and viral replication was not identified in leucocytes. Virus was isolated from, or found by immunocytochemistry in, the pharyngeal tonsil of all calves examined, except for two weanlings on days 1 and 8. Virus as detected by immunocytochemistry was restricted to epithelium and superficial lymphoid tissue in neonates, but was found in deep lymphoid tissue around germinal centres in weanlings. The study showed that the pharyngeal tonsil is readily infected with BHV-1 and may be an important lymphoid tissue for early anti-viral responses. The delayed inflammatory response and reduced viral clearance may contribute to the increased susceptibility of neonatal calves to fatal BHV-1 infections.