Breed effect on early cytokine mRNA expression in spleen and cecum of chickens with and without Salmonella enteritidis infection

Dev Comp Immunol. 2007;31(1):52-60. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2006.04.001. Epub 2006 May 19.


We examined mRNA expression of 11 genes: BAK, Bcl-x, Interferon [IFN]-gamma, Interleukin [IL]-1beta, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12alpha, IL-12beta, IL-18, CXCLi2 [IL-8/CAF], and a MIP family chemokine, CCLi2, in the spleen and cecum of day-old chicks after oral inoculation with Salmonella enteritidis (SE) or medium. Three distinct chicken breeds (broiler, Fayoumi, and Leghorn) were evaluated for mRNA expression levels at 2 and 18h post-inoculation using quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). SE exposure significantly increased splenic IL-18 and IFN-gamma expression. Breed effect was significant (P<0.05) for CXCLi2, IL-10, IL-12alpha, and CCLi2 mRNA expression in the spleen, and for IL-12alpha, IL-12beta, IL-18, and CCLi2 mRNA expression in the cecum. Generally, mRNA expression levels were higher in the spleen, and lower in the cecum, of Leghorns versus broilers. These results support a role for breed genetics influencing cytokine mRNA expression in young chickens and may potentially explain some generalized immune response differences between breeds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Cecum / immunology
  • Cecum / microbiology
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Chickens / immunology
  • Chickens / microbiology
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology*
  • Poultry Diseases / genetics
  • Poultry Diseases / immunology*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / immunology*
  • Salmonella enteritidis / immunology*
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / microbiology


  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger