Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Innate immune genes in persistent mating-induced endometritis in horses

Christina D. Marth A B E , Simon M. Firestone A , Dave Hanlon C , Lisa Y. Glenton A B , Glenn F. Browning A , Neil D. Young D and Natali Krekeler A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Asia–Pacific Centre for Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Corner Park Drive and Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Translational Research and Animal Clinical Trial Study Group, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Corner Park Drive and Flemington Road, Werribee, Vic. 3030, Australia.

C Matamata Veterinary Services, 26 Tainui Street, Matamata, New Zealand.

D Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Corner Park Drive and Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: christina.marth@unimelb.edu.au

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD17157
Submitted: 20 April 2017  Accepted: 29 July 2017   Published online: 24 August 2017

Abstract

Persistent mating-induced endometritis (PMIE) severely decreases fertility in horses. The aim of the present study was to evaluate differences between horses susceptible to PMIE and a control group in terms of the expression of selected immune response and effector genes, and the effects of oestrous cycle stage on this expression. Endometrial biopsies from 18 uterine samples of mares in the control group (eight in dioestrus, 10 in oestrus) and 16 PMIE-susceptible mares (four in dioestrus, 12 in oestrus) were analysed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. Genes for pathogen recognition receptors Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and NLR family CARD domain containing 5 (NLRC5), as well as tissue-specific inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1), C-X-C motif chemokine ligand (CXCL) 9, CXCL10 and CXCL11 and uteroferrin were expressed at similar levels in the control group and in susceptible mares. Genes for C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) and the antimicrobial peptides secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2), lipocalin 2 and lactoferrin were all expressed at higher levels in susceptible compared with control mares. The expression of genes for the antimicrobial peptides equine β-defensin 1 (EBD1), lysozyme (LYZ) and secretory leukoprotease inhibitor (SLPI) was also higher in susceptible than control mares. The diagnostic sensitivity of assays for EBD1, LYZ and SLP1 gene expression to detect susceptibility to PMIE was estimated to be 100%, 94% and 100% respectively, with specificities of 83%, 78% and 78% respectively. When all three tests were positive, the specificity increased to 94%, with an overall sensitivity of 94%. The present study has yielded insights into pathophysiological changes in mares susceptible to PMIE and identified robust diagnostic markers (EBD1, LYZ and SLPI) for susceptibility to this disease.

Additional keywords: antimicrobial peptides, chemokines, equine, pathogen recognition receptors, uterus.


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