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

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

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29 Scopus citations


The kinetics of specific IgM and IgG antibody response was characterized in four 9-month-old Beagles after inoculation of 2 x 10(2) plaque-forming units (PFU) of Sheila Smith strain of Rickettsia rickettsii. Immunoglobulin M antibodies were first detected by indirect immunofluorescence on postinoculation (PI) day 9, peaked by PI day 20, and were no longer detectable by PI day 80. Immunoglobulin G antibodies became detectable between PI 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 x 10(2) PFU/dog) and 1,029 (5 x 10(4) 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 evaluation 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.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1312-1316
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of veterinary research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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