Salmonella carrier state in chicken: comparison of expression of immune response genes between susceptible and resistant animals

Asymptomatic Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis carrier state in poultry has serious consequences on food safety and public health due to the risks of food poisoning following consumption of contaminated products. An understanding the mechanisms of persistence of Salmonella in the digestive tract of chicken can be achieved by a better knowledge of the defects in the control of infection in susceptible versus resistant animals. The gene expression of innate immune response factors including anti-microbial molecules, inflammatory and anti-infectious cytokines was studied in the caecal lymphoid tissue associated with the carrier state. Expression levels of these genes were assessed by real-time PCR and were compared in two inbred lines of chickens differing in resistance to the carrier state following oral inoculation of S. enterica serovar Enteritidis at I week of age. No correlation was observed between resistance/susceptibility to caecal carrier state and level of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-8, IL-18, inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and natural resistance associated macrophage protein 1 (NRAMP1). A high baseline level of defensin gene expression was recorded in young animals from the susceptible line. In contrast, a significantly low expression of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) gene was observed in these susceptible infected animals in comparison to resistant ones and healthy counterparts. IFN-gamma expression level represents a valuable indication of immunodeficiency associated with persistence of Salmonella in the chicken digestive tract, and IFN-gamma thus represents a factor to consider in the development of prophylactic measures for the reduction of Salmonella carrier state.

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