OBJECTIVE To compare gene expression patterns of T cells in porcine colostrum and peripheral blood.
ANIMALS 10 multiparous sows.
PROCEDURES Cytotoxic and CD4-CD8 double-positive T cells were separated from porcine colostrum and peripheral blood. Total RNA was extracted. The cDNA prepared from RNA was amplified, labeled, fragmented, and competitively hybridized to DNA microarray slides. The DNA microarray data were validated by use of a real-time reverse-transcription PCR assay, and expression of the genes FOS, NFKBI, IFNG, CXCR6, CCR5, ITGB2, CCR7, and SELL was assessed. Finally, DNA microarray data were validated at the protein level by use of flow cytometry via expression of c-Fos and integrin β-2.
RESULTS Evaluation of gene expression profiles indicated that in contrast to results for peripheral blood, numerous cell-signaling pathways might be activated in colostrum. Profile analysis also revealed that FOS and NFKBI (genes of transcription factors) were involved in most cell-signaling pathways and that expression of these genes was significantly higher in colostral T cells than in peripheral blood T cells. Furthermore, CCR7 and SELL (genes of T-cell differentiation markers) in colostral T cells had expression patterns extremely similar to those found in effector or effector memory T cells.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE All or most of the T cells in colostrum had an effector-like phenotype and thus were more activated than those in peripheral blood. This gene expression profile would enable T cells to migrate to mammary glands, be secreted in colostrum, and likely contribute to passive immunity provided by sows to newborn pigs.