Blood lymphocyte subpopulations in healthy water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis, Mediterranean lineage): Reference intervals and influence of age and reproductive history.


Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, via Delpino 1, 80137, Naples, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


There is an increasing interest toward infectious diseases and mechanisms of immune response of water buffaloes, mainly because of the growing economic impact of this species and of its high-quality milk. However, little is known about the immune system of these animals in physiological conditions. Recently, a wide number of antibodies cross reacting with buffalo antigens has been validated for use in flow cytometry (FC), allowing detailed characterization of the lymphocytic population in this species. The aim of the present study was to describe the lymphocyte subpopulations in a large number of healthy water buffaloes, providing reference intervals (RIs), and to assess whether the composition of blood lymphocyte population significantly varied with age and reproductive history. Our final aim was to lay the ground for future studies evaluating the role of host immune response in water buffaloes. One-hundred-twelve healthy buffaloes from four different herds in the South of Italy were included in the study. All animals had been vaccinated for Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Salmonellosis, Colibacillosis and Clostridiosis, and all herds were certified Brucellosis- and Tuberculosis-free. Venous blood collected into EDTA tubes was processed for FC, and the percentage of cells staining positive for the following antibodies was recorded: CD3, CD4, CD8, CD21, TCR-δ-N24, WC1-N2, WC1-N3 and WC1-N4. Absolute concentration of each lymphoid subclass was then calculated, based on automated White Blood Cell (WBC) Count. Reference Intervals were calculated according to official guidelines and are listed in the manuscript. The composition of the lymphocyte population varied with age and reproductive history, with animals <2-years-old and heifers having higher concentration of most of the subclasses. The present study provides RIs for the main lymphocytic subclasses in healthy water buffaloes, highlighting gross differences between young and old animals. Establishment of age-specific RIs is recommended in water buffaloes. The data we present may be useful as a basis for further studies concerning mechanisms of immune response toward infectious agents in water buffaloes.


Flow cytometry,Lymphocytes,Reference intervals,Water buffaloes,

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