Early innate and longer-term adaptive cutaneous immunoinflammatory responses during primary infestation with the sheep scab mite, Psoroptes ovis.

Research paper by A H M AH van den Broek, R W RW Else, J F JF Huntley, J J Machell, M A MA Taylor, H R P HR Miller

Indexed on: 30 Oct '04Published on: 30 Oct '04Published in: Journal of Comparative Pathology


Clinical observation has indicated that Psoroptes ovis mites provoke cutaneous inflammation within hours of experimental infestation, but the nature of this reaction has not been described. After infestation of naive sheep with ovigerous P. ovis mites, significant influxes of eosinophils (P<0.004) and neutrophils (P<0.001) were detected within 24 h. A significant (P<0.001) increase in mast cell numbers was observed by 96 h post-infestation. In addition, marked degenerative and proliferative epidermal lesions were evident 24 and 96 h, respectively, after infestation. The influence of the later, adaptive response on the cellular infiltrate at the advancing margin of the lesion and the original site of infestation was also monitored. Mast cell numbers were greatest at 21 days while recruitment of eosinophils and neutrophils was maximal 63 days after infestation. Lesional severity was particularly pronounced from 42 to 63 days after infestation, but significant resolution had occurred by 84 days. Pathological changes at the advancing margin of the lesion were more severe than at the initial site of infestation, and this was reflected by the numbers of mites present. These data suggest that P. ovis elicits an early innate cutaneous response that is subsequently augmented by the development of an adaptive immune response, the intensity of which corresponds to the local population density of mites.