[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Animal models of human disease are important tools in many areas of biomedicine; for example, in infectious disease research and in the development of novel drugs and medical devices. Most studies involving animals use rodents, in particular congenic mice, due to the availability of a wide number of strains and the ease with which they can be genetically manipulated. The use of mouse models has led to major advances in many fields of research, in particular in immunology but despite these advances, no animal model can exactly reproduce all the features of human disease. It is increasingly becoming recognised that in many circumstances mice do not provide the best model and that alternative species may be more appropriate. Here, we describe the relative merits of sheep as biomedical models for human physiology and disease in comparison to mice, with a particular focus on reproductive and respiratory pathogens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Latency is a key feature of the animal pathogen , where infection remains inapparent in the non-pregnant animal and only becomes evident during a subsequent pregnancy. Often the first sign that an animal is infected is abortion occurring late in gestation. Despite this, little is understood of the underlying mechanisms that control latency or the recrudescence of infection that occurs during subsequent pregnancy. The aim of this study was to develop an experimental model of latency by mimicking the natural route of infection through the intranasal inoculation of non-pregnant sheep with . METHODOLOGYPRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Three groups of sheep (groups 1, 2 and 3) were experimentally infected with different doses of (5×10, 5×10 and 5×10 inclusion forming units (IFU), respectively) prior to mating and monitored over 2 breeding cycles for clinical, microbiological, pathological, immunological and serological outcomes. Two further groups received either negative control inoculum (group 4a,b) or were inoculated subcutaneously on day 70 of gestation with 2×10 IFU (group 5). Animals in groups 1, 2 and 5 experienced an abortion rate of 50-67%, while only one animal aborted in group 3 and none in group 4a,b. Pathological, microbiological, immunological and serological analyses support the view that the maternal protective immune response is influenced by initial exposure to the bacterium. CONCLUSIONSSIGNIFICANCE: The results show that intranasal administration of non-pregnant sheep with a low/medium dose of results in a latent infection that leads in a subsequent pregnancy to infection of the placenta and abortion. In contrast a high dose stimulates protective immunity, resulting in a much lower abortion rate. This model will be useful in understanding the mechanisms of infection underlying latency and onset of disease, as well as in the development of novel therapeutics and vaccines for controlling infection.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e57950. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the availability of effective management and treatment strategies, Chlamydia abortus remains the single most frequently diagnosed cause of infectious ovine abortion (enzootic abortion of ewes, EAE) in the UK and one of the most significant causes of lamb mortality world-wide. In 2007, a survey of UK farmers, veterinarians and other farm animal holders was conducted to gather information on their perceptions of the risk of acquiring infection and the management practices employed to control the disease. The survey indicated that the preferred options for controlling EAE are either through vaccination and/or keeping flocks closed. However, further analysis of data indicates that implementation of these strategies does not provide a guarantee of exclusion of disease from flocks and thus further work is required to improve on current intervention strategies.
The Veterinary Journal 07/2012; · 2.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ovine enzootic abortion (OEA) is caused by the obligate intracellular Gram-negative bacterium Chlamydia abortus. OEA remains a common cause of infectious abortion in many sheep-rearing countries despite the existence of commercially available vaccines that protect against the disease. There are a number of confounding factors that influence the uptake and use of these vaccines, which includes an inability to discriminate between infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA) using conventional serological diagnostic techniques. This suggests that the immunity elicited by current vaccines is similar to that observed in convalescent, immune sheep that have experienced OEA. The existence of these vaccines provides an opportunity to understand how protection against OEA is elicited and also to understand why vaccines can occasionally appear to fail, as has been reported recently for OEA. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), the cytokine that classically defines Th1-type adaptive immunity, is a strong correlate of protection against OEA in sheep and has been shown to inhibit the growth of C. abortus in vitro. Humoral immunity to C. abortus is observed in both vaccinated and naturally infected sheep, but antibody responses tend to be used more as diagnostic markers than targets for strategic vaccine design. A future successful DIVA vaccine against OEA should aim to elicit the immunological correlate of protection (IFN-γ) concomitantly with an antibody profile that is distinct from that of the natural infection. Such an approach requires careful selection of protective components of C. abortus combined with an effective delivery system that elicits IFN-γ-producing CD4+ve memory T cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: Neospora caninum is recognised worldwide as a major cause of bovine infectious abortion. There is a real need to develop effective strategies to control infection during pregnancy which may lead to either abortion or congenital transmission. Due to the intracellular nature of the parasite, cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses involving CD4+ve, CD8+ve, γ/δ TCR+ve T cells and NK cells, as well as production of IFN-γ, are thought to be important for protective immunity. In this study we applied a combination of proteomic and immunological approaches to identify antigens of N. caninum that are recognized by CD4+ve T cell lines derived from infected cattle. Initially, N. caninum tachyzoite Water Soluble Antigens (NcWSA) were fractionated by size-exclusion HPLC and then screened for immune-potency using CD4+ve T cell lines. LC-ESI-MS/MS (liquid chromatography electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry) was employed to catalogue and identify the proteins comprising three immunologically selected fractions and led to the identification of six N. caninum target proteins as well as sixteen functional orthologues of Toxoplasma gondii. This approach allows the screening of biologically reactive antigenic fractions by the immune cells responsible for protection (such as bovine CD4+ve cells) and the subsequent identification of the stimulating components using tandem mass spectrometry.
Veterinary Research 08/2011; 42(1):91. · 3.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cells (Treg) are an important subset of T lymphocytes which play a key role in maintaining peripheral immunological tolerance. The most studied subpopulation of Treg in mice and humans are natural Treg, which differentiate in the thymus and are identified by expression of CD4, high levels of IL-2Rα (CD25), and forkhead box P3 (Foxp3), a transcription factor intimately associated with Treg function. We and others have previously identified Foxp3(+) T cells in ovine tissue, suggesting that Treg exist in this species. However, the existence of putative natural Treg in sheep, as identified by co-expression of CD4, CD25 and Foxp3, has yet to be determined. In this study we demonstrate that the anti-rat/mouse Foxp3 monoclonal antibody FJK-16s cross-reacts with ovine Foxp3. Using a transfected Chinese hamster ovary cell line that constitutively expresses recombinant ovine Foxp3 as a positive control, we have developed a sensitive triple-labelling flow cytometry protocol to simultaneously label CD4, CD25 and Foxp3. We demonstrate that Foxp3(+) T lymphocytes exist in ovine peripheral blood, and that the majority of Foxp3 expression occurs within the CD4(+)CD25(hi) population. These results are consistent with those seen in other mammalian species and indicate that putative natural Treg exist in sheep.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 07/2011; 144(1-2):172-7. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 3rd Veterinary Immunology Committee (VIC) Toolkit Workshop took place at the 9th International Veterinary Immunology Symposium (IVIS) in Tokyo, Japan on 18th August 2010. The Workshop built on previous Toolkit Workshops and covered various aspects of reagent development, commercialization and provision to the veterinary immunology research community. The emphasis was on open communication about current progress and future plans to avoid duplication of effort and to update priorities for reagent development. There were presentations on the major reagent development and networking projects such as the BBSRC/RERAD Immunological Toolbox (2004-2009), US Veterinary Immune Reagent Network (VIRN 2006-2010) that has just received renewal funding for 2010-2014, and EU Network for Animal Diseases Infectiology Research Facilities project (NADIR 2009-2013). There were also presentations and discussions on the use of reagents for assay development, particularly multiplexing, and how these new technologies will underpin basic research developments. Mechanisms for improved information exchange, especially though websites with VIC playing a central role, were identified.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 03/2011; 148(1-2):197-201. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lymphoid and myeloid cell populations in human endometrium are well-documented and are known to play important roles in providing immune tolerance, controlling trophoblast invasion, and mediating vascular remodeling. Immune cell populations in the Fallopian tube have not been comprehensively studied. The aim of this study was to characterize lymphoid and myeloid cell populations in non-pregnant Fallopian tube and determine whether they are altered in Fallopian tube from women with ectopic pregnancy. Fallopian tube was analyzed by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Populations of CD3+ (CD4+ and CD8+) lymphocytes, LIN1-HLADR+ (CD123+ and CD11c+) dendritic cells, monocytes, neutrophils, and CD56(dim)CD16- natural killer (NK) cells were demonstrated to be present in non-pregnant Fallopian tube. CD123+ dendritic cells were predominant over CD11c+ dendritic cells. Numbers of CD11c+ cells were significantly higher in the progesterone-dominant mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle compared with the follicular phase. Numbers of CD45+ leukocytes, CD68+ cells, and CD11c+ cells were higher in Fallopian tube from women with ectopic pregnancy compared with mid-luteal phase Fallopian tube. These data will advance our understanding of normal human Fallopian tube physiology and disorders of Fallopian tube function, such as ectopic pregnancy.
Journal of Reproductive Immunology 03/2011; 89(1):84-91. · 2.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim is to review recent findings on immunity and vaccine development to Chlamydia trachomatis.
There is increasing knowledge on the interactions between C. trachomatis and infected host cells. During genital infection the organism avoids generating protective immunity but immune responses to a number of chlamydial proteins have been associated with reproductive tract pathology. Various vaccine and adjuvant preparations have been tried experimentally. Information generated by proteomics and complex studies of serological and T-lymphocyte immune responses points to novel vaccine candidates.
C. trachomatis, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is the commonest sexually transmitted infection worldwide and is associated with reproductive pathology. To develop rational vaccines it is necessary to understand the complex lifecycle of the organism, the host immune response to infection and how these relate to disease. Infection does not prevent re-infection and antibiotic treatment prevents antibody production at a population level. It remains unclear what type of immune response would be sufficient to prevent infection and/or re-infection. Although the prevalence and demographics of infection and the severity of disease associations suggest that it would be desirable, there is no vaccine currently available. A number of studies have identified novel vaccine candidates.
Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 02/2011; 24(1):56-61. · 4.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chlamydia trachomatis and smoking are major risk factors for tubal ectopic pregnancy (EP), but the underlying mechanisms of these associations are not completely understood. Fallopian tube (FT) from women with EP exhibit altered expression of prokineticin receptors 1 and 2 (PROKR1 and PROKR2); smoking increases FT PROKR1, resulting in a microenvironment predisposed to EP. We hypothesize that C. trachomatis also predisposes to EP by altering FT PROKR expression and have investigated this by examining NFκB activation via ligation of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family of cell-surface pattern recognition receptors. PROKR2 mRNA was higher in FT from women with evidence of past C. trachomatis infection than in those without (P < 0.05), and was also increased in FT explants and in oviductal epithelial cell line OE-E6/E7 infected with C. trachomatis (P < 0.01) or exposed to UV-killed organisms (P < 0.05). The ability of both live and dead organisms to induce this effect suggests ligation of a cell-surface-expressed receptor. FT epithelium and OE-E6/E7 were both found to express TLR2 and TLR4 by immunohistochemistry. Transfection of OE-E6/E7 cells with dominant-negative TLR2 or IκBα abrogated the C. trachomatis-induced PROKR2 expression. We propose that ligation of tubal TLR2 and activation of NFκB by C. trachomatis leads to increased tubal PROKR2, thereby predisposing the tubal microenvironment to ectopic implantation.
American Journal Of Pathology 01/2011; 178(1):253-60. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cp) accounts for around 10% of community acquired bacterial pneumonia and has been associated with other chronic inflammatory conditions. We describe a C57/Bl6 murine model of Cp lung infection characterized by a dose-dependent, resolving neutrophilia followed by lymphocytic infiltration of the lungs. By 21 days post-infection, mice exhibit a T helper type 1 (Th1) polarized serum antibody response with local mucosal antibody secretion and organization of ectopic lymphoid tissue which persisted in the absence of detectable Cp DNA. Macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2/CXCL2, which recruits neutrophils and lymphocytes and is associated with ectopic lymphoid tissue formation, was secreted in the lungs post-infection. In vitro, lung epithelial cells up-regulated MIP-2/CXCL2 in response to both rough lipopolysaccharide (reLPS) and Cp infection. We conclude that Cp infection can have long-term inflammatory effects on tissue that persist after clearance of active infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tubal ectopic pregnancy (EP) is the most common cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester of pregnancy; however, its etiology is uncertain. In EP, embryo retention within the Fallopian tube (FT) is thought to be due to impaired smooth muscle contractility (SMC) and alterations in the tubal microenvironment. Smoking is a major risk factor for EP. FTs from women with EP exhibit altered prokineticin receptor-1 (PROKR1) expression, the receptor for prokineticins (PROK). PROK1 is angiogenic, regulates SMC, and is involved in intrauterine implantation. We hypothesized that smoking predisposes women to EP by altering tubal PROKR1 expression. Sera/FT were collected at hysterectomy (n=21). Serum levels of the smoking metabolite, cotinine, were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. FTs were analyzed by q-RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and Western blotting for expression of PROKR1 and the predicted cotinine receptor, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α-7 (AChRα-7). FT explants (n=4) and oviductal epithelial cells (cell line OE-E6/E7) were treated with cotinine and an nAChRα-7 antagonist. PROKR1 transcription was higher in FTs from smokers (P<0.01). nAChRα-7 expression was demonstrated in FT epithelium. Cotinine treatment of FT explants and OE-E6/E7 cells increased PROKR1 expression (P<0.05), which was negated by cotreatment with nAChRα-7 antagonist. Smoking targets human FTs via nAChRα-7 to increase tubal PROKR1, leading to alterations in the tubal microenvironment that could predispose to EP.
American Journal Of Pathology 11/2010; 177(5):2509-15. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Successful mammalian pregnancy involves complex immunological interactions between the mother and foetus that are not yet fully understood. A number of immunological paradigms have been established to explain the failure of the maternal immune system to reject the semi-allogeneic foetus, mainly based on studies in mice and humans. However, as placental structure, gestation periods and number of concepti per pregnancy can vary greatly between mammals, it is not always clear how applicable these immunological paradigms are to reproduction in other species. Here, we discuss the predictions of three important immunological paradigms in relation to the pathogenesis of ovine enzootic abortion (OEA), a common cause of infectious abortion in sheep and other ruminants. OEA is caused by the intracellular Gram-negative bacterium Chlamydophila abortus that exhibits a tropism for placental trophoblast. The paradigms of particular relevance to the pathogenesis of OEA are as follows: (i) intracellular bacterial infections are controlled by T(H)1-type CD4(+ve) T cells; (ii) indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase is expressed in the placenta to prevent immunological rejection of the semi-allogeneic foetus; and (iii) pregnancy is a maternal T(H)2-type phenomenon. We discuss the relevance and validity of these paradigms for chlamydial abortion and reproductive immunology in sheep.
American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology 10/2010; 64(4):287-94. · 3.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To demonstrate expression and regulation of prokineticins (PROKs) and their receptors (PROKRs) in fallopian tube (FT) from women who are not pregnant and women with ectopic pregnancy (EP).
Large United Kingdom teaching hospital.
Women undergoing hysterectomy for benign gynecological conditions (n = 15) and surgery for EP (n = 16).
Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry were used to determine FT PROK/PROKR messenger RNA (mRNA) expression and protein localization, respectively. The PROK/PROKR levels were measured in tubal explant cultures stimulated with estrogen (E) and progestogen.
Differential expression of PROK and PROKR.
The FT PROK2 and PROKR1 mRNA levels were up-regulated during the P-dominant midluteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Increased PROKR1 expression was observed in tubal explant cultures treated with medroxy-progesterone acetate (MPA). The PROK and PROKR proteins were localized to the epithelium and smooth muscle layers of the FT. The PROKR1 and PROKR2 mRNA levels were lower in FT from women with EP compared with nonpregnant FT from the midluteal phase.
These data suggest a potential role for PROKs in FT function. The PROKs are known to affect smooth muscle contraction in the gut. Dysregulated PROK expression in FT could affect FT smooth muscle contractility and embryo-tubal transport, providing a potential cause for EP.
Fertility and sterility 10/2010; 94(5):1601-8.e1. · 3.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chlamydophila abortus (C. abortus) is the aetiological agent of ovine enzootic abortion (OEA). The highly elevated expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) and low-level expression of interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) that are detected in C. abortus-infected placentas have been implicated in the pathogenesis of OEA. Late-term abortions similar to those occurring in sheep have also been observed in mouse models of C. abortus infection. Since mouse studies have contributed significantly to our understanding of the immunological responses to chlamydial infections and serve as a good model for rapidly assessing candidate vaccines for OEA, we investigated local expression of TNFalpha and IFNgamma in infected mice. At various time points over the course of infection mice were sacrificed, serum samples obtained for serum antibody and cytokine analyses, and livers and placental tissues were removed and fixed to determine C. abortus colonisation and cytokine expression. Immunostaining for C. abortus was significantly greater in placenta compared to liver (P<0.001), whereas local IFNgamma expression was lower and TNFalpha expression was absent in the placenta compared with the liver across all time points. Serum concentrations of both IFNgamma and TNFalpha increased throughout pregnancy in infected mice. These data suggest that a protective systemic inflammatory immune response controls maternal C. abortus infection but not placental/fetal infection in mice. In contrast to sheep, murine placental TNFalpha expression does not correlate with C. abortus infection, suggesting that the immunopathogenesis of chlamydial abortion differs in these species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and interleukin (IL)-10 are cross-regulatory cytokines capable of driving and controlling the adaptive host immune response. The inter-relationship between IFN-gamma and IL-10 expression has not been defined in sheep despite biological evidence suggesting that they perform similar functions to their orthologues described in other species. To address this, we have developed a quantitative (q)PCR method to assess relative levels of IFN-gamma and IL-10 mRNA expression in activated ovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and compared the kinetics of mRNA expression with amounts of cytokine secreted by the cells over a 96h period. PBMC were collected from sheep immunised with the nominal antigen ovalbumin (Ova) and re-stimulated in vitro with antigen and the T cell mitogen concanavalin A (ConA). The recall response to antigen was characterised by a single peak in IFN-gamma mRNA expression at 48h of culture (13-fold increase over unstimulated cells) and relatively lower expression of IL-10 mRNA (average 2-3-fold increase over the 96h culture period). Antigen-driven IFN-gamma protein concentration was greatest at the end of the culture period (96h) whereas IL-10 protein level was not elevated above that observed in unstimulated cells. The typical response to ConA was greater for both cytokines, with IFN-gamma mRNA expression peaking at 6h of culture (133-fold increase) then declining rapidly whereas IL-10 mRNA expression peaked at 24h (16-fold increase) and declined more gradually. Despite these differences in the relative kinetics of mRNA expression in mitogen-activated PBMC, the typical pattern of protein expression of the two cytokines was similar. Both showed a gradual rise in protein concentration starting from 12h of culture which was still rising at the end of the culture period (96h). These data demonstrate that the kinetics of mRNA expression for IFN-gamma and IL-10 in activated ovine PBMC do not necessarily correlate with detectable protein in culture.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 02/2010; 136(1-2):34-42. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is an innate pro-inflammatory cytokine involved in protection against intracellular pathogens. Existing methods for measuring TNF-alpha production and function in ruminants are limited to ELISA and many rely on polyclonal antisera. With a view to developing improved detection methods for bovine (bov) TNF-alpha, monoclonal antibodies (mAb) were produced by immunising mice with a plasmid encoding bov TNF-alpha. Two of the resulting mAb, termed CC327 and CC328, were used to develop a sandwich ELISA capable of detecting both native and recombinant bov TNF-alpha. This ELISA did not detect recombinant ovine (ov) TNF-alpha. A luminometric method was applied to the ELISA to improve sensitivity for detection of native bov TNF-alpha in culture supernatants derived from bovine monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DC) infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Both CC327 and CC328 detected intracytoplasmic expression of TNF-alpha in mitogen-activated bovine T lymphocytes. However, only CC328 detected intracytoplasmic ovine TNF-alpha in transfected cells, explaining the failure of the sandwich ELISA to detect recombinant ov TNF-alpha. These mAbs have generated the capability to study the role of TNF-alpha in host immune protection and disease pathogenesis in ruminants.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 01/2010; 135(3-4):320-4. · 1.88 Impact Factor