Open Access Research article

Lipopolysaccharide priming enhances expression of effectors of immune defence while decreasing expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in mammary epithelia cells from cows

Juliane Günther1, Wolfram Petzl2, Holm Zerbe2, Hans-Joachim Schuberth3, Dirk Koczan4, Leopold Goetze5 and Hans-Martin Seyfert1*

Author affiliations

1 Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, D-18196 Dummerstorf, Germany

2 Clinic for Ruminants, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Sonnenstr. 16, D-85764 Oberschleißheim, Germany

3 Institute of Immunology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Bischofsholer Damm 15, D-30173 Hannover, Germany

4 Institute for Immunology, Medical Faculty, University of Rostock, Schillingallee 70, D-18055 Rostock, Germany

5 Pfizer Animal Health, Linkstr. 10, D-10785 Berlin, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2012, 13:17  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-17

Published: 12 January 2012

Abstract

Background

Udder infections with environmental pathogens like Escherichia coli are a serious problem for the dairy industry. Reduction of incidence and severity of mastitis is desirable and mild priming of the immune system either through vaccination or with low doses of immune stimulants such as lipopolysaccharide LPS was previously found to dampen detrimental effects of a subsequent infection. Monocytes/macrophages are known to develop tolerance towards the endotoxin LPS (endotoxin tolerance, ET) as adaptation strategy to prevent exuberant inflammation.

We have recently observed that infusion of 1 μg of LPS into the quarter of an udder effectively protected for several days against an experimentally elicited mastitis. We have modelled this process in primary cultures of mammary epithelial cells (MEC) from the cow. MEC are by far the most abundant cells in the healthy udder coming into contact with invading pathogens and little is known about their role in establishing ET.

Results

We primed primary MEC cultures for 12 h with LPS (100 ng/ml) and stimulated three cultures either 12 h or 42 h later with 107/ml particles of heat inactivated E. coli bacteria for six hours. Priming-related alterations in the global transcriptome of those cells were quantified with Affymetrix microarrays. LPS priming alone caused differential expression of 40 genes and mediated significantly different response to a subsequent E. coli challenge of 226 genes. Expression of 38 genes was enhanced while that of 188 was decreased. Higher expressed were anti-microbial factors (β-defensin LAP, SLPI), cell and tissue protecting factors (DAF, MUC1, TGM1, TGM3) as well as mediators of the sentinel function of MEC (CCL5, CXCL8). Dampened was the expression of potentially harmful pro-inflammatory master cytokines (IL1B, IL6, TNF-α) and immune effectors (NOS2, matrix metalloproteases). Functional network analysis highlighted the reduced expression of IL1B and of IRF7 as key to this modulation.

Conclusion

LPS-primed MEC are fitter to repel pathogens and better protected against misguided attacks of the immune response. Attenuated is the exuberant expression of factors potentially promoting immunopathological processes. MEC therefore recapitulate many aspects of ET known so far from professional immune cells.