Gene expression of innate Th1-, Th2-, and Th17-type cytokines during early life of neonatal foals in response to Rhodococcus equi.
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Focusing on the first 3 weeks of life, this study examined the mRNA transcript development of different Th-type cytokines in foals in response to Rhodococcus equi infection in vitro. Results demonstrated the significant up-regulation in expression of Th1-, Th2-, and Th17-type cytokines (IFN-, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12p35, IL-12p40, IL-17, IL-23p19, and TNF-) in R. equi infection of bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL) cells of 10-day-old foals. Consequently, signature cytokines of 3 Th cell types, IFN- (Th1), IL-4 (Th2), and IL-17 (Th17), were used to compare temporal response patterns of circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to stimulation with R. equi. Foals responded to R. equi stimulation by producing similar amounts of IFN- mRNA transcripts from birth through 3 weeks of age, suggesting an absence of age-related impairment in Th1-type cytokine response to R. equi during the first 3 weeks of life. It remains debatable whether this Th1 response to R. equi in foals3 weeks of age is generally immature relative to older foals or adult horses. IL-4 expression by R. equi-stimulated PBMCs was significantly decreased at birth, and IL-17 expression was relatively reduced during the first week of life. Among all cytokines studied, IL-17 mRNA transcripts were induced with the highest magnitude of fold-change both in BAL cells and in PBMCs. Under the conditions studied, in vivo administration of a CpG failed to modulate the Th1-, Th2-, and Th17-type cytokine expression patterns in PBMCs.