Intramuscular administration of a synthetic CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide modulates functional responses of neutrophils of neonatal foals.
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Neutrophils play an important role in protecting against infection. Foals have age-dependent deficiencies in neutrophil function that may contribute to their predisposition to infection. Thus, we investigated the ability of a CpG-ODN formulated with Emulsigen to modulate functional responses of neutrophils in neonatal foals. Eighteen foals were randomly assigned to receive either a CpG-ODN with Emulsigen (N = 9) or saline intramuscularly at ages 1 and 7 days. At ages 1, 3, 9, 14, and 28, blood was collected and neutrophils were isolated from each foal. Neutrophils were assessed for basal and Rhodococcus equi-stimulated mRNA expression of the cytokines interferon- (IFN-), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, and IL-8 using real-time PCR, degranulation by quantifying the amount of -D glucuronidase activity, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation using flow cytometry. In vivo administration of the CpG-ODN formulation on days 1 and 7 resulted in significantly (P<0.05) increased IFN- mRNA expression by foal neutrophils on days 3, 9, and 14. Degranulation was significantly (P<0.05) lower for foals in the CpG-ODN-treated group than the control group at days 3 and 14, but not at other days. No effect of treatment on ROS generation was detected. These results indicate that CpG-ODN administration to foals might improve innate and adaptive immune responses that could protect foals against infectious diseases and possibly improve responses to vaccination.