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Circulating and broncho-alveolar interleukin-6 in relation to body temperature in an experimental model of bovine Chlamydia psittaci infection

In rodent models of experimentally induced fever, the important role of interleukin-6 (IL-6) as a circulating endogenous pyrogen is well established. Studies employing larger animal species and real infections are scarce. Therefore, we assessed bioactive IL-6 in peripheral blood and in broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of calves after intra-bronchial inoculation with vital Chlamydia psittaci (Cp), with inactivated Cp, or with BGM cells. Only calves inoculated with vital Cp developed fever (peak at 2–3 days after challenge) and significantly increased IL-6 activity. Controls inoculated with either inactivated Cp or BGM cells also expressed increased bioactive IL-6, but no fever developed. Activity of IL-6 in BALF was significantly higher compared to blood serum. This experimental model of Cp infection revealed no apparent relation between IL-6 in blood and body temperature, but did reveal a relation between IL-6 and other markers of inflammation in BALF. We conclude that a local inflammatory response in the lungs of infected calves caused fever, which developed by mechanisms including other mediators besides IL-6.


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