Dynamic expression of leukocyte innate immune genes in whole blood from horses with lipopolysaccharide-induced acute systemic inflammation

Anne Mette L. Vinther, Kerstin Skovgaard, Peter M. H. Heegaard, Pia H. Andersen

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    Background: In horses, insights into the innate immune processes in acute systemic inflammation are limited even though these processes may be highly important for future diagnostic and therapeutic advances in high-mortality disease conditions as the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and sepsis. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the expression of 31 selected blood leukocyte immune genes in an equine model of acute systemic inflammation to identify significantly regulated genes and to describe their expression dynamics during a 24-h experimental period. Systemic inflammation was induced in 6 adult horses by the intravenous injection of 1 mu g lipopolysaccharide (LPS) per kg btw. Sixteen blood samples were collected for each horse at predetermined intervals and analyzed by reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR. Post-induction expression levels for each gene were compared with baseline levels. Results: Systemic inflammation was confirmed by the presence of clinical and hematological changes which were consistent with SIRS. The clinical response to LPS was transient and brief as all horses except one showed unaltered general demeanor after 24 h. Twenty-two leukocyte genes were significantly regulated at at least one time point during the experimental period. By close inspection of the temporal responses the dynamic changes in mRNA abundance revealed a very rapid onset of both pro-and anti-inflammatory mediators and a substantial variation in both expression magnitudes and duration of changes between genes. A majority of the 22 significantly regulated genes peaked within the first 8 h after induction, and an on-going, albeit tightly controlled, regulation was seen after 24 h despite approximate clinical recovery. Conclusions: This first broad study of gene expressions in blood leukocytes during equine acute LPS-induced systemic inflammation thoroughly characterized a highly regulated and dynamic innate immune response. These results provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of equine systemic inflammation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalB M C Veterinary Research
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    © 2015 Vinther et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
    (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
    provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://
    creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


    • Baseline expression variability
    • Cytokines
    • Endotoxemia
    • Equine
    • Gene expression dynamics
    • Innate immunity
    • Leukocytes
    • Lipopolysaccharide
    • Systemic inflammation
    • Time course study


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