[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mammals, early-life environmental variations appear to affect microbial colonization and therefore competent immune development, and exposure to farm environments in infants has been inversely correlated with allergy development. Modelling these effects using manipulation of neonatal rodents is difficult due to their dependency on the mother, but the relatively independent piglet is increasingly identified as a valuable translational model for humans. This study was designed to correlate immune regulation in piglets with early-life environment.
Piglets were nursed by their mother on a commercial farm, while isolator-reared siblings were formula fed. Fluorescence immunohistology was used to quantify T-reg and effector T-cell populations in the intestinal lamina propria and the systemic response to food proteins was quantified by capture ELISA.
There was more CD4(+) and CD4(+) CD25(+) effector T-cell staining in the intestinal mucosa of the isolator-reared piglets compared with their farm-reared counterparts. In contrast, these isolator-reared piglets had a significantly reduced CD4(+) CD25(+) Foxp3(+) regulatory T-cell population compared to farm-reared littermates, resulting in a significantly higher T-reg-to-effector ratio in the farm animals. Consistent with these findings, isolator-reared piglets had an increased serum IgG anti-soya response to novel dietary soya protein relative to farm-reared piglets.
Here, we provide the first direct evidence, derived from intervention, that components of the early-life environment present on farms profoundly affects both local development of regulatory components of the mucosal immune system and immune responses to food proteins at weaning. We propose that neonatal piglets provide a tractable model which allows maternal and treatment effects to be statistically separated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Normal piglets weaned onto soy- or egg-based diets generated antibody responses to fed protein. Concurrent infection with transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) did not affect the responses to dietary antigens at weaning, nor did it affect the subsequent development of tolerance. However, TGEV infection did enhance the primary immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG1, but not IgG2, antibody responses to injected soy in comparison to those of uninfected animals. Paradoxically, TGEV-infected animals showed an enhanced primary IgG1 antibody response to injected soy at 4 weeks of age, but they subsequently showed a reduced secondary response after an intraperitoneal challenge at 9 weeks of age in comparison to uninfected animals. The results suggest that an enteric virus, either used as a vaccine vector or present as a subclinical infection, may not have significant effects on the development of dietary allergies but may have effects both on the primary response and on the subsequent recall response to systemic antigens to which the animal is exposed concurrently with virus antigens.