The study was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of foetal serology in the diagnosis of Neospora-associated bovine abortions. Fluids from 14 foetuses of cows with confirmed neosporosis (Group A), seven foetuses with confirmed bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVD infection) (Group B) and 11 aborted foetuses without demonstrable infection (Group C) were examined. The age of the foetuses ranged from 4.5 months to 9 months. Albumin concentration (measured by Rocket Immunoelectrophoresis) was not significantly different in Group A compared with that in both Groups B and C, while that in Group B was significantly lower than in Group C. Levels of total IgG ranged from 0.01 to 1.78 (mg IgG) ml-1 measured by single radial immunodiffusion technique. A measurable level of total IgG was found in all foetuses from Groups A and B, with no significant difference between levels in the two groups. Only one foetus in Group C had a detectable level of IgG. All foetuses in Group A had a specific IgG response (titre ≥ 20) against Neospora caninum using the IFAT, while no positive responses in IFAT were found in Groups B and C. Measurement of specific IgG1 and IgG2 by Iscom-ELISA showed one and three false-negative results, respectively, in Group A. The IgG1 and IgG2 response in Group A was correlated according to the Spearman test (r = 0.66). Increasing age of the foetuses correlated significantly with the foetal IgG concentration, the specific IgG and IgG1+IgG2. On the basis of the results obtained, it was concluded that the IFAT with a cut-off titre of 1:20, was a specific method for diagnosis of neosporosis in foetuses older than 4.5 months. The Iscom-ELISA also showed promising results as a method for screening specific antibodies against N. caninum in foetal fluid.
- Bovine foetuses
- Neospora caninum