Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 81-87

Mast cell counts correlate with Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus tick load in different cattle breeds

J. Veríssimo, CecíliaH. Bechara, GervásioS. Mukai, LucianaP. Otsuk, IvaniR. Pozzi Arcaro, Juliana

The number of dermal mast cells in several European and Zebu cattle breeds was determined and correlated with the tick load. Breeds included European registered and non-registered Holstein, Brown-Swiss and Jersey cows, Zebu (Nelore and Gyr) and crossbred cows with either high or low tick infestations. Animals were naturally infested with Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus and evaluated at regular time intervals for tick attachment and feeding. Ear biopsies were taken and processed according to routine histology for mast cell countings carried out on both the upper and deep dermis. The average cell counts were then correlated with the number of engorged ticks attached to host. Nelore cows presented the largest mast cells countings/mm2 (139.42; P 0.05), while surprisingly Gyr showed similar number of cells (61.73) as the Holstein (48.76) and Brown-Swiss (67.31) ones. Jersey cows presented the smallest cell countings (29.32) despite their greater resistance to tick infestation as compared to Holstein and Brown-Swiss. There was a negative correlation (r= -0.21, P 0.01) between the number of cells in the upper dermis and tick counts when all data (n= 155) were analyzed in a single correlation plane, irrespective of the breed. These results confirm the important role played by mast cells in bovine resistance to the cattle tick R. microplus.

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