Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a key protein in innate immunity. MBL binds to carbohydrates on the surface of pathogens, where it initiates complement activation via the lectin-dependent pathway or facilitates opsonophagocytosis. In vitro studies have shown that human MBL is able to bind to Salmonella, but knowledge in relation to chicken MBL and Salmonella is lacking. In order to study this relation day-old chickens from two selected lines L10H and L10L, differing in MBL serum concentration, were either orally infected with S. Infantis (S.123443) or kept as non-infected controls. The differences between healthy L10H and L10L chicken sublines were more profound than differences caused by the S. Infantis infection. The average daily body weight was higher for L10H than for L10L, regardless of infection, indicating beneficial effects of MBL selection on growth. Salmonella was detected in cloacal swabs and the number of Salmonella positive chickens during the experiment was significantly higher in L10L than L10H, indicating that MBL may affect the magnitude of Salmonella colonisation in day-old chickens. MBL expression was determined in ceca tissue by real-time RT-PCR. L10H chickens showed a significantly higher relative expression than L10L at days 1 and 41 pi, regardless of infection. Finally, flow cytometric analysis of whole blood from infected chickens showed that L10H had a significantly higher count of all assessed leucocyte subsets on day 5 pi, and also a higher count of monocytes on day 12 pi than L10L. No difference was observed between infected and non-infected L10L chicken.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 2015, Vol 163, Issue 1-2, p. 23-32