Leukocyte counts in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained from normal and Maedi-Visna-infected sheep

Panagiotis D. Katsoulos, Georgios Christodoulopoulos, Georgios Kontopidis, Anastasios Minas, Athanasia Tzivara, Spyridon K. Kritas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Bronchoalveolar lavage has proven helpful for the diagnosis of certain ovine diseases of the lungs. There is insufficient data concerning the leukocyte profile of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from Maedi-Visna infected sheep. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the differential leukocyte profile of BALF associated with Maedi virus infection in sheep and to determine whether cytologic examination of BALF is an effective way to diagnose Maedi or determine the severity of lung lesions. Methods: BALF and serum samples were analyzed from 400 sheep. Sediment smears of bronchoalveolar lavage were stained with Diff-Quik and examined microscopically to obtain a 200-cell differential cell count. Serum was tested using a commercial kit for Maedi-Visna virus antibodies. Lung samples obtained at the time of slaughter were weighed and examined histologically. Results: Maedi-infected sheep (n = 267; seropositive with lung lesions) had a significantly higher percentage of lymphocytes and lower percentage of macrophages in BALF than normal sheep (n = 133; seronegative and no lung lesions). These differences were significantly more severe in animals with advanced vs moderate lung lesions. Using classification trees, a cut-off of 13.5% lymphocytes was predictive of Maedi infection and a cut-off of 24.5% lymphocytes was predictive of advanced lung lesions. Conclusions: Cytologic examination of BALF is useful for the clinical diagnosis of Maedi in sheep and provides important information about the severity of the lung lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-402
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Diagnosis
  • Maedi-Visna
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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