Helminth parasites have been a popular research topic due to their global prevalence and adverse effects on livestock and game species. The Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), a popular game bird in the USA, is one species subject to helminth infection and has been experiencing a decline of > 4% annually over recent decades. In the Rolling Plains Ecoregion of Texas, the eyeworm (Oxyspirura petrowi) and caecal worm (Aulonocephalus pennula) helminths are found to be highly prevalent in bobwhite. While there have been increasing studies on the prevalence, pathology, and phylogeny of the eyeworm and caecal worm, there is still a need to investigate the bobwhite immune response to infection. This study utilizes previously sequenced bobwhite cytokines and toll-like receptors to develop and optimize qPCR primers and measure gene expression in bobwhite intramuscularly challenged with eyeworm and caecal worm glycoproteins. For the challenge experiments, separate treatments of eyeworm and caecal worm glycoproteins were administered to bobwhite on day 1 and day 21. Measurements of primary and secondary immune responses were taken at day 7 and day 28, respectively. Using the successfully optimized qPCR primers for TLR7, IL1β, IL6, IFNα, IFNγ, IL10, and β-actin, the gene expression analysis from the challenge experiments revealed that there was a measurable immune reaction in bobwhite in response to the intramuscular challenge of eyeworm and caecal worm glycoproteins.
Keywords: Bobwhite; Caecal; Cytokine; Eyeworm; TLR; qPCR.