The role of proliferation in the regulation of interferon gamma (IFNγ) expression in foals

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Interferon-gamma (IFNγ) plays an important role against viral and intracellular bacterial infections and its production is deficient in foals. Cellular proliferation provides an opportunity for de novo gene expression, though little is known about its role in regulating IFNγ expression in foals. While stimulation of foal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with concanavalin A (ConA) increased the frequency of IFNγ+ cells, the overall percentage of IFNγ+ cells remained below that of adults. By contrast, the proliferative response of foal PBMC was significantly greater than that of the adults. In foals, IFNγ production was predominantly associated with those T cells that underwent proliferation, whereas in adults non-dividing cells also produced IFNγ. While treatment with hydroxyurea inhibited cellular division, it failed to completely block IFNγ production. This residual IFNγ production likely represented memory cells as the proportion of these proliferation-independent IFNγ+ cells increased with foal age. However, memory cells may not account for all of the IFNγ production as ConA stimulation likely provided additional signals that can control IFNγ expression.

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