To understand better the events in early avian host immune responses to Salmonella Enteritidis (SE), we examined messenger-RNA (mRNA) expression for eight genes: CXCLi1[K60], CXCLi2 [IL-8/CAF], interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL) -1β, IL-6, IL-12α, IL-12β, and gallinacin (Gal)-2 in the ceca of young chicks 1 wk postinoculation with SE. Cecum tissue sections were stained and evaluated for the presence of macrophages, lymphocytes, heterophils, and apoptotic cells following SE infection. With the use of quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), SE infection was associated with a significant (P < 0.01) upregulation of cecal CXCLi1 and CXCLi2 mRNA expression. Infection with SE was also associated (P < 0.05) with increased staining for macrophages and decreased apoptosis (single-stranded DNA [ssDNA]) in cecal tissue sections when these sections were compared with those of uninfected animals. Changes in chemokine expression and cell population dynamics are a direct result of SE infection, as uninfected animals do not show these alterations. Thus, these SE-induced changes reflect the host immune response to SE in young chickens.

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