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Vet. Res.
Volume 35, Number 2, March-April 2004
Page(s) 213 - 224
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2004) 213-224
Vet. Res. 35 (2004) 213-224
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2004004

Tilmicosin-induced bovine neutrophil apoptosis is cell-specific and downregulates spontaneous LTB4 synthesis without increasing Fas expression

Wilson D. Leea, Andrew N. Flynna, Justin M. LeBlanca, John K. Merrillb, Paul Dickb, Douglas W. Morcka and Andre G. Bureta, c

a  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada
b  Provel Division Eli Lilly Canada Inc., Guelph, Ontario N1G 4T2, Canada
c  Mucosal Inflammation Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada

(Received 9 July 2003; accepted 25 September 2003)

Abstract - The pathology of bacterial pneumonia, such as seen in the bovine lung infected with Mannheimia haemolytica, is due to pathogen virulence factors and to inflammation initiated by the host. Tilmicosin is a macrolide effective in treating bacterial pneumonia and recent findings suggest that this antibiotic may provide anti-inflammatory benefits by inducing polymorphonuclear neutrophilic leukocyte (PMN) apoptosis. Using an in vitro bovine system, we examined the cell-specificity of tilmicosin, characterized the changes in spontaneous leukotriene B4 (LTB4) synthesis by PMN exposed to the macrolide, and assessed its effects on PMN Fas expression. Previous findings demonstrated that tilmicosin is able to induce PMN apoptosis. These results were confirmed in this study by the Annexin-V staining of externalized phosphatidylserine and the analysis with flow cytometry. The cell-specificity of tilmicosin was assessed by quantification of apoptosis in bovine PMN, mononuclear leukocytes, monocyte-derived macrophages, endothelial cells, epithelial cells, and fibroblasts cultured with the macrolide. The effect of tilmicosin on spontaneous LTB4 production by PMN was evaluated via an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Finally, the mechanisms of tilmicosin-induced PMN apoptosis were examined by assessing the effects of tilmicosin on surface Fas expression on PMN. Tilmicosin-induced apoptosis was found to be at least partially cell-specific, as PMN were the only cell type tested to die via apoptosis in response to incubation with tilmicosin. PMN incubated with tilmicosin under conditions that induce apoptosis spontaneously produced less LTB4, but did not exhibit altered Fas expression. In conclusion, tilmicosin-induced apoptosis is specific to PMN, inhibits spontaneous LTB4 production, and occurs through a pathway independent of Fas upregulation.

Key words: macrolide / neutrophil / apoptosis / pasteurellosis / inflammation

Corresponding author: Andre G. Buret

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004