[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutrophils are the first line of immunity against most pathogens that infect cattle. These normally short-lived white blood cells develop from myeloid-lineage cells in bone marrow. Upon maturation, bone marrow neutrophils are released into the circulation where they marginate on inflamed blood vessel endothelial cells and migrate through them into the area of infection. Once migrated, neutrophils do not reenter the circulation, but rather, perform their bactericidal functions and die by apoptosis in the tissue. The cytokine and hormonal milieu of the blood and extracellular tissue fluid can influence neutrophil development and immunity-related activities, but the molecular basis of these phenotypic changes and physiological benefits or drawbacks of them are poorly understood. In the current paper, we review new gene expression information that resulted from two of our functional genomics studies designed to evaluate effects of glucocorticoid hormones on bovine neutrophils. This work provides one model to describe complex changes that occur in neutrophils as the cells respond to glucocorticoids, which might act to alter the cells' functional priorities and tip the delicate balance between health and disease during stress, including at parturition. A bovine immunobiology microarray and real time RT-PCR were used to study blood neutrophils collected during the natural surge of endogenous glucocorticoid (cortisol) in parturient dairy cows and bone marrow neutrophils collected from glucocorticoid (dexamethasone)-treated dairy steers. The gene expression signatures we observed led us to perform additional phenotyping of the neutrophils and correlation analyses, which together painted a picture suggesting that glucocorticoids have key roles in modulating neutrophil development, life span, and tissue defense functions during parturition and hormone therapy. Based on these observations, we postulate that glucocorticoids orchestrate adaptive changes in the entire neutrophil system that support increased cell numbers and longevity in blood and heightened remodeling activity in tissues, while at the same time decreasing some important antimicrobial defense activities of the cells. Thus, our functional genomics studies have enabled us to elucidate multiple consequences of neutrophil exposure to glucocorticoids, highlighting a probable role for this interaction in the induction of parturition and partly explaining why some parturient dairy cows may experience heightened incidence and severity of inflammatory diseases like mastitis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is well documented that blood neutrophils from parturient dairy cows do not perform as well as neutrophils from nonparturient cows in laboratory assays of adhesion, migration, or phagocytosis-induced respiratory burst. However, little is known about the possible molecular basis for parturition-induced changes in neutrophils. cDNA microarray analysis was used in the current study to explore parturition-induced changes in gene expression profiles in bovine blood neutrophils. Total RNA from isolated blood neutrophils of four parturient Holstein cows was obtained before, during, and after parturition, reverse transcribed into cDNA, and sequentially labeled with Cy3 or Cy5 dyes prior to paired hybridizations to 1,056 member bovine total leukocyte (BOTL-3) microarrays in a loop design. Resulting gene expression data were LOWESS normalized by array and analyzed using a mixed model approach. Results showed that expression profiles for 302 BOTL-3 genes were influenced by parturition. BLASTn analysis and preliminary clustering of affected genes by biological function indicated that the largest proportion (14%) of changed genes encode proteins critical to regulation of apoptosis. Independent confirmation of altered expression for 16 of these genes was achieved using quantitative real-time RT-PCR (Q-RT-PCR). A predominantly survival phenotype inferred from the microarray and Q-RT-PCR results was substantiated by monitoring apoptosis status of blood neutrophils from castrated male cattle cultured in the presence of sera from parturient cows. Thus our combined gene expression and apoptosis phenotyping results suggest that bovine parturition may induce prolonged survival in normally short-lived blood neutrophils.