Twenty of 28 calves, 10-12 weeks of age when given intravenous injections of the galactan from subsp. , showed transient apnoea, increased pulmonary arterial and decreased systemic arterial blood pressures, and increased packed-cell volume. Necropsy revealed haemorrhages associated with alveolar ducts and vessel walls, areas of pulmonary oedema, usually associated with the haemorrhages, dilated airways and, in some, capillary thrombosis. Animals that had shown changes in blood pressure and respiration in response to a dose of galactan did not react to a second dose an hour later. One goat tested died, four lambs were mildly affected and a cat and several rats and guinea-pigs did not respond.

It is suggested that the galactan released biogenic amines that produced the effects listed. Immunological mechanisms were discounted on the grounds that only a small amount of antigenic material was injected at the time the reaction occurred, and neither serological nor skin tests produced any evidence of prior sensitisation to the galactan or a similar substance.

A relationship between reactivity to the galactan and susceptibility to the natural disease has been suggested. This, together with the pulmonary oedema found in galactan-treated calves and in natural lesions of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), and the possibility that contraction of blood vessels could be an initiating cause of thrombosis indicates the role that galactan may play in the pathogenesis of CBPP.


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