Abstract: The diagnosis of Small Ruminant Lentivirus (SRLV) is based on clinical signs, pathological lesions and laboratory testing. No standard reference test for the diagnosis of maedi visna has been validated up to the present, and it is puzzling that tests which detect antibodies against the virus and tests which detect the proviral genome may render opposite results. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence in milk throughout a lactation period of specific antibodies by ELISA and of SRLV proviral DNA by a PCR of the highly conserved pol region. A six-month study was conducted with the milk of 28 ewes and 31 goats intensively reared. The percentage of animals with antibodies against SRLV increased throughout the study period. Seroprevalence in sheep was 28% at the beginning of the study and by the end it had increased up to 52.4%. In goats, initial seroprevalence of 5.6% increased to 16%. The percentage of PCR positive ewes was stable throughout the study period. Of the positive sheep, 21.4% were PCR-positive before antibodies could be detected and most of them became PCR-negative shortly after the first detection of antibodies. This might suggest that antibodies have a neutralizing effect. In addition, an equal percentage of sheep were always PCR-negative but either became ELISA-positive or was always ELISA-positive, which might support this hypothesis. On the other hand, the PCR results in goats did not follow any pattern and oscillated between 35.3% and 55.6% depending on the month. Most goats positive by PCR failed to develop antibodies in the 6 months tested. We may conclude that the infection and the antibody response to it follow a different trend in sheep and goats.
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Barquero, N.; Gomez-Lucia, E.; Arjona, A.; Toural, C.; Heras, A.L.; Fernández-Garayzabal, J.F.; Domenech, A. Evolution of Specific Antibodies and Proviral DNA in Milk of Small Ruminants Infected by Small Ruminant Lentivirus. Viruses 2013, 5, 2614-2623.
Barquero N, Gomez-Lucia E, Arjona A, Toural C, Heras AL, Fernández-Garayzabal JF, Domenech A. Evolution of Specific Antibodies and Proviral DNA in Milk of Small Ruminants Infected by Small Ruminant Lentivirus. Viruses. 2013; 5(10):2614-2623.
Barquero, Nuria; Gomez-Lucia, Esperanza; Arjona, Alvaro; Toural, Cristina; Heras, Alfonso L.; Fernández-Garayzabal, José F.; Domenech, Ana. 2013. "Evolution of Specific Antibodies and Proviral DNA in Milk of Small Ruminants Infected by Small Ruminant Lentivirus." Viruses 5, no. 10: 2614-2623.