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Cellular responses to Rhipicephalus microplus infestations in pre-sensitised cattle with differing phenotypes of infestation

Marufu, Munyaradzi C., Dzama, Kennedy, Chimonyo, Michael
Experimental & applied acarology 2014 v.62 no.2 pp. 241-252
Bonsmara, Boophilus microplus, basophils, cattle production, correlation, heifers, hypersensitivity, immunity, phenotype, ticks
The blue tick, Rhipicephalus microplus, threatens cattle production in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Delayed skin hypersensitivity reactions are thought to cause Nguni cattle to be more resistant to R. microplus than Bonsmara cattle yet the cellular mechanisms responsible for these differences have not been classified. Tick counts and inflammatory cell infiltrates in skin biopsies from feeding sites of adult R. microplus ticks were determined in 9-month-old Nguni and Bonsmara heifers to determine the cellular mechanisms responsible for tick immunity. Nguni heifers (1.7 ± 0.03) had lower (P < 0.05) tick counts than the Bonsmaras (2.0 ± 0.03). Parasitized sites in Nguni heifers had higher counts of basophils, mast and mononuclear cells than those in the Bonsmara heifers. Conversely, parasitized sites in Nguni heifers had lower neutrophil and eosinophil counts than those in the Bonsmara heifers. Tick count was negatively correlated with basophil and mast cell counts and positively correlated with eosinophil counts in both breeds. In the Bonsmara breed, tick count was positively correlated with mononuclear cell counts. Cellular responses to adult R. microplus infestations were different and correlated with differences in tick resistance in Nguni and Bonsmara cattle breeds. It is essential to further characterise the molecular composition of the inflammatory infiltrate elicited by adult R. microplus infestation to fully comprehend immunity to ticks in cattle.