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Res Vet Sci. 2013 Aug;95(1):87-91. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2013.01.024. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

Chicken erythrocytes respond to Toll-like receptor ligands by up-regulating cytokine transcripts.

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Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.


Avian erythrocytes are nucleated cells of myeloid origin that are able to actively transcribe and translate proteins. Although their role in gas exchange and transportation has been well described, it has recently been shown that chicken erythrocytes produce cytokines in response to Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, which raises the possibility that they also contribute to host immunity. To this end, the objective of the study was to gain some further insight into the immunological role of erythrocytes by identifying the repertoire of TLRs that they express and to elucidate their responses to the TLR3 and TLR21 ligands poly I:C and CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN), respectively. The results suggest that erythrocytes constitutively express transcripts for TLRs 2, 3, 4, 5, and 21, as well as for many immunological genes including type I interferons (IFN) and interleukin (IL)-8. Moreover, it was found that treatment with both poly I:C and CpG ODN up-regulated transcripts for type I IFNs, while only poly I:C up-regulated IL-8 transcripts and enhanced the production of nitrite. Future studies may be aimed at further characterizing the immunological role of erythrocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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