Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a disease of livestock with severe and worldwide economic, animal welfare and zoonotic consequences. Application of test-and-slaughter-based control polices reliant on tuberculin skin testing has been the mainstay of bTB control in cattle. However, little is known about the temporal development of the bovine tuberculin skin test response at the dermal sites of antigen injection. To fill this knowledge gap, we applied minimally-invasive sampling microneedles (SMNs) for intradermal sampling of interstitial fluid at the tuberculin skin test sites in Mycobacterium bovis BCG-vaccinated calves and determined the temporal dynamics of a panel of 15 cytokines and chemokines in situ and in the peripheral blood. The results reveal an orchestrated and coordinated cytokine and local chemokine response, identified IL-1RA as a potential soluble biomarker of a positive tuberculin skin response, and confirmed the utility of IFN-γ and IP-10 for bTB detection in blood-based assays. Together, the results highlight the utility of SMNs to identify novel biomarkers and provide mechanistic insights on the intradermal cytokine and chemokine responses associated with the tuberculin skin test in BCG-sensitized cattle.
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