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Modulation of Helper T Cytokines in Thymus during Early Pregnancy in Ewes

Department of Animal Science, College of Life Sciences and Food Engineering, Hebei University of Engineering, Handan 056021, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2019, 9(5), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050245
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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Simple Summary

The thymus is a main organ of the immune system. Immune tolerance exists in maternal immune system during pregnancy. Helper T (Th)1 and Th2 cytokines regulate the functions of immune system. We found that early pregnancy affected the production of Th1 and Th2 cytokines in maternal thymus in sheep, which may be beneficial for normal pregnancy.

Abstract

There is an immune tolerance in maternal immune system during pregnancy, and thymus is a main organ of the immune system. Helper T (Th)1 and Th2 cytokines are involved in the regulation of immune system, but the modulation of Th cytokines in the thymus during early pregnancy is unclear in ewes. Thymuses were collected on day 16 of the estrous cycle, and on days 13, 16, and 25 of pregnancy in ewes. qRT-PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry were used to analyze the expression of Th1 and Th2 cytokines in the thymuses. There was a peak in the expression of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) on day 16 of pregnancy, an upregulation of tumor necrosis factor beta (TNF-β), and a sustained expression of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-4. Furthermore, there was a peak in the expression of IL-6 on day 13 of pregnancy, no expression of IL-6 on day 16 of the estrous cycle and day 25 of pregnancy, and an upregulation of IL-5 and IL-10 in the thymuses during early pregnancy. The immunohistochemistry results revealed that the IFN-γ and IL-6 proteins were limited to the stromal cells, capillaries, and thymic corpuscles. In conclusion, early pregnancy influenced the production of Th1 and Th2 cytokines of maternal thymus in sheep. View Full-Text
Keywords: cytokine; pregnancy; sheep; thymus cytokine; pregnancy; sheep; thymus
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Zhang, L.; Zhao, Z.; Mi, H.; Liu, B.; Wang, B.; Yang, L. Modulation of Helper T Cytokines in Thymus during Early Pregnancy in Ewes. Animals 2019, 9, 245.

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