Main content area

BT cationic peptides: Small peptides that modulate innate immune responses of chicken heterophils and monocytes

Kogut, Michael H, Genovese, Kenneth J., He, Haiqi, Swaggerty, Christina L., Jiang, Yi Wei
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 2011 v.145 no.1-2 pp. 151
Brevibacillus, Gram-positive bacteria, Salmonella enteritidis, agonists, antibacterial properties, chickens, defense mechanisms, disease resistance, feed additives, food industry, gene expression, genes, heterophils, hosts, immune response, intestines, minimum inhibitory concentration, mitogen-activated protein kinase, models, monocytes, pathogens, peptides, phosphorylation, poultry industry
Neonatal poultry exhibit a transient susceptibility to infectious diseases during the first week of life that stems from inefficient host defense mechanisms. Yet, the initial host immune response to pathogens is a critical determinant of disease resistance and susceptibility. With this context in mind, novel ways to stimulate or modulate the hosts’ natural immune response is emerging as an important area of interest for food animal producers including the poultry industry. Specifically, we have been investigating new modulation strategies tailored around the selective stimulation of the host’s immune system, and particularly rapid acting innate immunity, as an alternative to direct targeting of microbial pathogens. One such approach that we have been investigating is the use of a group of cationic peptides produced by a Gram-positive soil bacterium, Brevibacillus texasporus (BT peptides). We have previously shown that, provided as a feed additive, BT peptides significantly induced a concentration-dependent protection against cecal colonization and extraintestinal colonization by Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE). This protection is not the result of direct antibacterial activity of the BT peptides on the SE since the concentrations used were below the minimum inhibitory concentration for SE. We also found that BT are not absorbed in the intestine, but still induce a significant up-regulation in the functional efficiency of peripheral blood heterophils and monocytes. The mechanisms of this immune modulation are unknown. Here, using in vitro models for measuring: (1) leukocyte oxidative burst, (2) changes in leukocyte cytokine and chemokines gene expression profiles, and (3) phosphorylation of the mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in leukocytes, we evaluated the role of BT peptides as priming mediators for heterophil and monocyte responses at the level of cell function, gene transcription/expression, and cell phosphorylation following stimulation with inflammatory agonists. BT peptides primed both heterophils and monocytes for an increased oxidative burst and up-regulation in transcription of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and IL-6 and inflammatory chemokines CXCLi1 and CXCLi2 induced by inflammatory agonists. In addition, BT peptides induced a rapid (10 min) phosphorylation and activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and p38 kinase pathways in primary chicken heterophils. Taken together, we conclude that BT peptides, acting through MAPK pathways, enhance leukocyte functional and pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine gene transcription activities. These small cationic peptides may prove useful as immune modulators in neonatal poultry.