Paratuberculosis is endemic in domestic and wild ruminants worldwide. We designed the following study to compare host immune responses and pathologic changes in beef calves and bison calves after challenge with either a cattle or bison (Bison bison) strain of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. In the first part of the study, six bison and six beef calves were orally inoculated with a cattle isolate of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis over a 2 wk period. In the second part, an additional six bison and six beef calves were similarly inoculated with a bison strain of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Throughout each of the studies, blood and fecal samples were taken monthly for a 6 mo infection period. Tissue samples were obtained at necropsy for culture and histopathologic analyses. Results from this study demonstrated that bison calves were more susceptible to tissue colonization than beef calves after challenge with the cattle isolate and, conversely, that beef calves were more susceptible to the bison strain of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Although lesions were minimal they were most apparent in the jejunum and distal ileum. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) responses were noted in some calves by 1 mo post-inoculation and were sustained longer in beef calves after challenge with the bison isolate. Antibody was not detected in either beef or bison calves during the 6 mo infection period. These results indicate that the host response to strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis may differ between ruminant species.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3