Neospora caninum is a major cause of abortion in cattle but it is not known why some infected animals suffer abortion while others do not. An essential role in protective immunity against N. caninum has been proposed for Th1 cytokines such as IFN-γ and IL-12 although cytokine patterns in N. caninum infected pregnant cattle have been scarcely addressed. In this study, gene expression of the cytokines IFN-γ, IL-12, IL-10, IL-4 and TNF-α was analyzed by real time RT-PCR in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in N. caninum naturally infected dams throughout pregnancy. Blood samples were drawn from 18 cows (13 N. caninum seropositive and 5 N. caninum seronegative) on Days 45, 90, 120, 150, 180 and 210 of pregnancy or until abortion. Four seropositive animals aborted. Compared to the seronegative animals, N. caninum infected dams showed up-regulated mRNA levels of the Th1 cytokines, IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-12p40, along with up-regulation of the T regulatory (Treg) cytokine IL-10. In contrast, expression levels of IL-4 (Th2 cytokine) did not differ significantly among the different groups throughout the study period. Our findings indicate clear differences in peripheral blood cytokine gene expression levels during pregnancy between animals naturally infected with N. caninum and seronegative control animals. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the gene expression of Th1, Th2 and regulatory cytokines in the peripheral blood of pregnant cows naturally infected with N. caninum. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
|Journal||Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Feb 2012|
- Cytokine gene expression
- Natural infection
- Neospora caninum
- Real time RT-PCR