Heterophil cytokine mRNA profiles from genetically distinct lines of chickens with differential heterophil-mediated innate immune responses

Christina L Swaggerty, Pete Kaiser, Lisa Rothwell, Igal Y Pevzner, Michael H Kogut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previously we demonstrated that increased in-vitro heterophil function translates to increased in-vivo resistance to Salmonella enteritidis infections in broilers (line A > B). Heterophils produce cytokines and modulate acute protection against Salmonella in neonatal poultry. We hypothesized that heterophils from S. enteritidis-resistant chickens produce an up-regulated pro-inflammatory cytokine/chemokine response compared with S. enteritidis-susceptible chickens. In this study, heterophils were isolated 1, 14, and 28 days post-hatch, treated with RPMI or phagocytic agonists, and the cytokine/chemokine mRNA expression assessed using quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. At all time-points, heterophils from S. enteritidis-resistant chickens (line A) had higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine/chemokine mRNA expression upon stimulation compared with heterophils from S. enteritidis-susceptible chickens (line B). Furthermore, heterophils from line A chickens had decreased mRNA expression of transforming growth factor-beta4, an anti-inflammatory cytokine, compared with line B. These data indicate a relationship between cytokine/chemokine mRNA expression by heterophils and determining overall immune competence. Therefore, heterophil functional efficiency, accompanied by evaluating cytokine/chemokines produced by heterophils, may be useful biomarkers for breeders to consider when developing new immunocompetent lines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-8
Number of pages7
JournalAvian Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Animals
  • Chickens/classification
  • Chickens/genetics
  • Chickens/immunology
  • Cytokines/genetics
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Neutrophils/immunology
  • Neutrophils/metabolism
  • Opsonin Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Salmonella enteritidis
  • Up-Regulation


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