Early detection of bovine leukemia virus in experimentally infected cattle by polymerase chian reaction

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American Journal of Veterinary Research



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A study was performed to determine whether experimentally induced bovine leukemia virus (BLV) infection in cattle could be detected earlier by use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of genomic DNA extracted from leukocytes than by use of conventional agar-gel immunodiffusion (AGID). The PCR primers were designed to amplify a 375-base-pair region of the proviral gag gene. Five cows were identified that were BLV-negative on the basis of AGID and PCR results. At day 0, these cows were inoculated IM with blood pooled from 3 naturally infected cows. Blood samples were taken on days 0, 1, and 7, and every 2 weeks thereafter until 3 months after inoculation. Three of the cows were BLV-positive by AGID test results 3 weeks after inoculation, and the remaining 2 seroconverted at 5 weeks. In contrast, all 5 cows were BLV-positive by PCR results 7 days after inoculation and remained positive for the duration of the study. Five cows that were BLV-positive by AGID test and PCR results on day 0 and from which samples were obtained at the same times as those from the other 5 cows, remained BLV-positive by results of both tests during the course of the study. Results indicate that under experimental conditions, BLV infection in cattle can be detected as much as 2 to 4 weeks earlier by use of PCR than by use of the AGID test.

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