Immune response profile of caruncular and trophoblast cell lines infected by high- (Nc-Spain7) and low-virulence (Nc-Spain1H) isolates of Neospora caninum
BACKGROUND:Bovine neosporosis, one of the main causes of reproductive failure in cattle worldwide, poses a challenge for the immune system of pregnant cows. Changes in the Th-1/Th-2 balance in the placenta during gestation have been associated with abortion. Cotyledon and caruncle cell layers form the maternal-foetal interface in the placenta and are able to recognize and induce immune responses against Neospora caninum among other pathogens. The objective of the present work was to elucidate the immunomodulation produced by high- (Nc-Spain7) and low-virulence (Nc-Spain1H) isolates of N. caninum in bovine trophoblast (F3) and caruncular cells (BCEC-1) at early and late points after infection. Variations in the mRNA expression levels of toll-like receptor-2 (TLR-2), Th1 and Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-10, IL-8, IL-6, IL-12p40, IL-17, IFN-γ, TGF-β1, TNF-α), and endothelial adhesion molecules (ICAM-1 and VCAM-1) were investigated by RT-qPCR, and protein variations in culture supernatants were investigated by ELISA. RESULTS:A similar pattern of modulation was found in both cell lines. The most upregulated cytokines in infected cells were pro-inflammatory TNF-α (P < 0.05-0.0001) and IL-8 (P < 0.05-0.001) whereas regulatory IL-6 (P < 0.05-0.001) and TGF-β1 (P < 0.05-0.001) were downregulated in both cell lines. The measurement of secreted IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α confirmed the mRNA expression level results. Differences between isolates were found in the mRNA expression levels of TLR-2 (P < 0.05) in both cell lines and in the mRNA expression levels (P < 0.05) and protein secretion of TNF-α (P < 0.05), which were higher in the trophoblast cell line (F3) infected with the low-virulence isolate Nc-Spain1H. CONCLUSIONS:Neospora caninum infection is shown to favor a pro-inflammatory response in placental target cells in vitro. In addition, significant immunomodulation differences were observed between high- and low-virulence isolates, which would partially explain the differences in virulence.