The purpose of this study was to document the levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) in serum of calves experimentally infected intratracheally with Pasteurella haemolytica Al and to determine if elevated TNF levels correlate with development of pneumonic pasteurellosis in the bovine. Serum samples were collected at sequential time periods from 0 h to 72 h post inoculation with P. haemolytica. TNF levels in those sera were measured by a cytotoxicity assay utilizing the TNF-sensitive WEHI 164 mouse fibrosarcoma cell line. Serum TNF levels in infected cattle began to rise at 2 h post inoculation, peaked at approximately 8 h, and decreased to near control levels by 72 h. There was extreme variability in serum TNF among the inoculated animals with levels varying from 120 pg ml-1 to 5000 pg ml-1 at 8 h post inoculation. These levels did not correspond with the degree of lung involvement. All inoculated calves developed lesions of pneumonic pasteurellosis characterized by fibrinous pleuritis with necrotizing, hemorrhagic pneumonia. These results suggest that TNF is probably a significant inflammatory mediator involved in the pathogenesis of bovine pneumonic pasteurellosis.
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