Age-related distribution and dynamics of T-cells in blood and lymphoid tissues of goats

Mariona Baliu-Piqué, Henry Kurniawan, Lars Ravesloot, Myrddin W. Verheij, Julia Drylewicz, Karianne Lievaart-Peterson, José A.M. Borghans, Ad Koets, Kiki Tesselaar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Neonatal mammals have increased disease susceptibility and sub-optimal vaccine responses. This raises problems in both humans and farm animals. The high prevalence of paratuberculosis in goats and the lack of an effective vaccine against it have a strong impact on the dairy sector, and calls for vaccines optimized for the neonatal immune system. We characterized the composition of the T-cell pool in neonatal kids and adult goats and quantified their turnover rates using in vivo deuterium labelling. From birth to adulthood, CD4+ T-cells were the predominant subset in the thymus and lymph nodes, while spleen and bone marrow contained mainly CD8+ lymphocytes. In blood, CD4+ T-cells were the predominant subset during the neonatal period, while CD8+ T-cells predominated in adults. We observed that thymic mass and cellularity increased during the first 5 months after birth, but decreased later in life. Deuterium labelling revealed that T-cell turnover rates in neonatal kids are considerably higher than in adult animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Deuterium
  • Development
  • Goat
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Neonatal adaptive immunity
  • Stable isotope labelling
  • T-cell turnover
  • T-lymphocytes


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