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PLoS One. 2009 Nov 26;4(11):e8039. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008039.

Canine uterine bacterial infection induces upregulation of proteolysis-related genes and downregulation of homeobox and zinc finger factors.

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  • 1Division of Small Animals, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Ragnvi.Hagman@kv.slu.se

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bacterial infection with the severe complication of sepsis is a frequent and serious condition, being a major cause of death worldwide. To cope with the plethora of occurring bacterial infections there is therefore an urgent need to identify molecular mechanisms operating during the host response, in order both to identify potential targets for therapeutic intervention and to identify biomarkers for disease. Here we addressed this issue by studying global gene expression in uteri from female dogs suffering from spontaneously occurring uterine bacterial infection.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The analysis showed that almost 800 genes were significantly (p<0.05) upregulated (>2-fold) in the uteri of diseased animals. Among these were numerous chemokine and cytokine genes, as well as genes associated with inflammatory cell extravasation, anti-bacterial action, the complement system and innate immune responses, as well as proteoglycan-associated genes. There was also a striking representation of genes associated with proteolysis. Robust upregulation of immunoglobulin components and genes involved in antigen presentation was also evident, indicating elaboration of a strong adaptive immune response. The bacterial infection was also associated with a significant downregulation of almost 700 genes, of which various homeobox and zinc finger transcription factors were highly represented.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Together, these finding outline the molecular patterns involved in bacterial infection of the uterus. The study identified altered expression of numerous genes not previously implicated in bacterial disease, and several of these may be evaluated for potential as biomarkers of disease or as therapeutic targets. Importantly, since humans and dogs show genetic similarity and develop diseases that share many characteristics, the molecular events identified here are likely to reflect the corresponding situation in humans afflicted by similar disease.

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