Cultures of adherent and non-adherent bovine peripheral blood mononuclear (PBM) cells were inoculated with bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 10. Some cultures of non-adherent cells were stimulated with interleukin 2 (IL-2) and concanavalin A for 24 h prior to virus inoculation. Cells were harvested at various intervals up to 72 h after inoculation. A panel of leukocyte differentiation antigen-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), specific for bovine CD2, CD4 or CD8, monocytes and granulocytes, B cells, γδ T cells or the IL-2 receptor (IL-2r), was directly conjugated to fluorescein isothiocyanate, and a MAb specific for the BTV major core protein VP7 was directly conjugated to phycoerythrin. Cells were labelled with conjugated MAbs in single- and double-label immunofluorescence studies to identify specifically the BTV-infected cells in inoculated cultures. The viability of cells was determined by propidium iodide exclusion, and all analyses were done using flow cytometry. Productive infection of cultures of PBM cells was confirmed by virus titration. The data revealed a clear difference between subsets of bovine PBM cells in susceptibility to infection with BTV . Monocytes were readily infected with BTV, as were stimulated CD4 cells, and infection was cytopathic to monocytes and stimulated lymphocytes. The proportion of infected cells decreased after 24 h and virus titres dropped markedly by 72 h in all cultures. CD4 cells in cultures of unstimulated non-adherent cells inoculated with BTV showed increased expression of IL-2r. The possible relevance of these findings to the pathogenesis of BTV infection of cattle is discussed.


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