The cellular response in the dermis of common wombats (Vombatus ursinus) with sarcoptic mange exhibited some typical aspects of an immune response to Sarcoptes scabiei. There was an induction phase for wombats experimentally infected with S. scabiei represented by absence of a dermal inflammatory infiltrate for at least 12 days after infection. T lymphocytes, plasma cells, mast cells, and neutrophils then entered the dermis, consistent with a type IV (delayed) hypersensitivity response. In free-living wombats with severe parakeratotic sarcoptic mange eosinophils were also present in the dermis suggesting that a type I (immediate) hypersensitivity response may develop after a type IV hypersensitivity response. Absence of plasma cells and B lymphocytes in free-living wombats with severe parakeratotic sarcoptic mange compared with their presence in wombats experimentally infected with S. scabiei suggested that some immune tolerance may develop with severe infections. A large proportion of cells in the dermal response were not identified but were possibly cells of connective tissue. The thickness of the epidermis increased within 4 days in response to S. scabiei infection. Some antibodies raised against human leucocyte antigens CD3, CD5, HLA-DP, DQ, DR, and CD79b cross-reacted with leucocyte antigens of common wombats and were used to identify cell types in inflammatory infiltrates using immunohistochemistry.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1