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Genomic analysis of between-cow variation in dermal fibroblast response to lipopolysaccharide.


The innate immune response plays a major role in defense against mastitis-causing pathogens. Identification of existing variation in innate immune signaling among cows and the underlying molecular causes for the variation may help in design of new mastitis control strategies. The dermal fibroblast has been used as a model cell type to explore between-cow variation in the ability of cells to produce IL-8 in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment, and this response appears related to an animal's ability to respond to in vivo challenge with LPS or Escherichia coli mastitis. In this study, primary dermal fibroblast cultures of cows and microarray-based genomic analysis were used to investigate the cause(s) for the variable response to LPS. Fibroblast cultures from 2 cows, one with a low response phenotype (LR(array)) and another with a high response phenotype (HR(array)), were selected from our collection of fibroblast cultures established from 88 cows. The LR(array) fibroblast culture produced approximately 5-fold less IL-8 and IL-6 protein in response to 24-h LPS treatment than the HR(array) fibroblast culture. Genomic analysis of RNA obtained from 3 replicates of the 2 cultures before and after 8-h LPS treatment revealed a combined LPS-induced differential expression of 321 transcripts, indicating the robust response capability of the fibroblast cell. Under basal conditions, the microarray analysis revealed 2-fold less expression of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the LR(array) fibroblasts compared with the HR(array) fibroblasts, and this was associated with a marked reduction in expression of genes regulated by the TLR4-MyD88-dependent and TLR4-TRIF-dependent pathways (IL-8, IL-6, SAA3, CCL20, MX1, IRF1, and ISG20). The between-culture differential expression of TLR4 was confirmed and extended by quantitative PCR analysis (QPCR) that revealed a 33-fold lower expression of TLR4 in the LR(array) fibroblast culture. After LPS treatment, the difference in TLR4 expression increased to almost 50-fold and was associated with more than 8-fold lower expression of IL-8 and IL-6. No DNA sequence variations were identified in the proximal 1,300-bp promoter region of the TLR4 gene, and microarray analysis did not reveal a molecular explanation for the reduced TLR4 expression under either basal conditions or following exposure to LPS. The attenuated innate immune response of the LR(array) fibroblast culture to LPS may be caused by reduced TLR4 receptor expression. Also, the primary dermal fibroblast cells can be used to examine underlying causes for between-cow variations in key immune response pathways.


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    Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405, USA.


    Journal of dairy science 95:7 2012 Jul pg 3852-64


    Cells, Cultured
    Gene Expression Regulation
    Genetic Variation
    Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
    Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
    Toll-Like Receptor 4

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.



    PubMed ID