A series of challenge experiments were performed in order to investigate the acute phase responses to foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) infection in cattle and possible implications for the development of persistently infected "carriers". The host response to infection was investigated through measurements of the concentrations of the acute phase proteins (APPs) serum amyloid A (SAA) and haptoglobin (HP), as well as the bioactivity of type 1 interferon (IFN) in serum of infected animals. Results were based on measurements from a total of 36 infected animals of which 24 were kept for observational periods exceeding 28 days in order to determine the carrier-status of individual animals. The systemic host response to FMDV in infected animals was evaluated in comparison to similar measurements in sera from 6 mock-inoculated control animals. There was a significant increase in serum concentrations of both APPs and type 1 IFN in infected animals coinciding with the onset of viremia and clinical disease. The measured parameters declined to baseline levels within 21 days after inoculation, indicating that there was no systemically measurable inflammatory reaction related to the carrier state of FMD. There was a statistically significant difference in the HP response between carriers and non-carriers with a lower response in the animals that subsequently developed into FMDV carriers. It was concluded that the induction of SAA, HP and type 1 IFN in serum can be used as markers of acute infection by FMDV in cattle.
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