Author(s): de Groot J, Kruijt L, Scholten JW, Boersma WJ, Buist WG,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The capacity of farm animals to produce cytokines could be an important determinant of robustness and health. From research in rodents and humans it appears that the production and the balance of T helper 1 (Th1) and T helper 2 (Th2)-type cytokines influences susceptibility to autoimmune and infectious diseases. It is known that pigs show a large variation in many immune response parameters. So far the extent of individual variation in the production of Th1- and Th2-type cytokines in commercial outbred pigs has not been reported. In the current experiment we determined mRNA expression, as well as protein production of cytokines in 32 pigs from eight litters. From each litter two male and two female pigs were tested at 2, 5 and 8 weeks of age. Two Th1-type cytokines, interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon (IFN)-gamma, and two Th2-type cytokines, IL-4 and IL-10, were measured after phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulation of blood mononuclear cells. Cytokine production and the Th1/Th2-ratio were highly variable. The variation in cytokine protein production was moderately consistent across ages, i.e. pigs that produced high levels of cytokine at 2 weeks of age tended to do so as well at 5 and 8 weeks of age. Cytokine production tended to increase with age, and gilts and boars differed in their IL-2/IL-4 ratio. Unexpectedly, age, gender and litter effects often differed for mRNA and protein production data. We hypothesize that cytokine production is a consistent trait in pigs, especially at the protein production level. Future investigations in more animals and across a wider age range are necessary.
This article was published in Immunology
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination