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Modulation of chicken intestinal immune gene expression by small cationic peptides as feed additives during the first week posthatch

Michael H. Kogut, Kenneth J. Genovese, Haiqi He, Christina L. Swaggerty, Yiwei Jiang
Clinical and diagnostic laboratory immunology 2013 v.20 no.9 pp. 1440-1448
Brevibacillus, chemokines, interferons, broiler chickens, Salmonella Enteritidis, cecum, gene expression, pathogens, messenger RNA, soil bacteria, interleukin-1, feed additives, interleukin-18, transcription (genetics), immune system, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, diet, antibiotics, interleukin-6, salmonellosis
We have been investigating modulation strategies tailored around the selective stimulation of the host’s immune system as an alternative to direct targeting of microbial pathogens by antibiotics. One such approach is the use of a group of small cationic peptides (BT) produced by a Gram-positive soil bacterium, Brevibacillus texasporus. These peptides have immune modulatory properties that enhance both leukocyte functional efficiency and leukocyte proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine mRNA transcription activities in vitro. In addition, when provided as a feed additive for just 4 days posthatch, BT peptides significantly induce a concentration-dependent protection against cecal and extraintestinal colonization by Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis. In the present studies, we assessed the effects of feeding BT peptides on transcriptional changes on proinflammatory cytokines, inflammatory chemokines, and Toll-like receptors (TLR) in the ceca of broiler chickens with and without S. Enteritidis infection. After feeding a BT peptide-supplemented diet for the first 4 days posthatch, chickens were then challenged with S. Enteritidis, and intestinal gene expression was measured at 1 or 7 days postinfection (p.i.) (5 or 11 days of age). Intestinal expression of innate immune mRNA transcripts was analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Analysis of relative mRNA expression showed that a BT peptide-supplemented diet did not directly induce the transcription of proinflammatory cytokine, inflammatory chemokine, type I/II interferon (IFN), or TLR mRNA in chicken cecum. However, feeding the BT peptide-supplemented diet primed cecal tissue for increased (P<0.05) transcription of TLR4, TLR15, and TLR21 upon infection with S. Enteritidis on days 1 and 7 p.i. Likewise, feeding the BT peptides primed the cecal tissue for increased transcription of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin 1 [IL-1], IL-6, IL-18, type I and II IFNs) and inflammatory chemokine (CxCLi2) in response to S. Enteritidis infection 1 and 7 days p.i. compared to the chickens fed the basal diet. These small cationic peptides may prove useful as alternatives to antibiotics as local immune modulators in neonatal poultry by providing prophylactic protection against Salmonella infections.