Previous studies showed differences in in vitro heterophil function between parental (A>B) broilers and F1 reciprocal crosses (D>C). Our objectives were to (1) determine if in vitro variations translate to differences in resistance to Salmonella enteritidis (SE) and (2) quantitate cytokine mRNA in heterophils from SE-infected chicks. One-day-old chicks were challenged and organs were cultured for SE. Chicks with efficient heterophils (A and D) were less susceptible to SE compared to chicks with inefficient heterophils (B and C). Heterophils were isolated from SE-infected chicks and cytokine mRNA expression was evaluated using quantitative real-time RT–PCR. Pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA was up-regulated in heterophils from SE-resistant chicks compared to susceptible chicks. This is the first report to quantitate cytokine mRNA in heterophils from SE-infected chicks. These data show a relationship between in vitro heterophil function, increased pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression, and increased resistance to SE in 1-day-old chicks.
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