Immunophenotypic Variation in Neonatal Pigs and Immunomodulating or Anti-allergic Effects of Microbial Treatments
Due to the intrauterine environment required to maintain pregnancy it may be that neonatal animals are born type-2 immune response (IR) biased, which consequently may increase susceptibility to certain infectious and immune mediated diseases, such as allergy. Recently, the prevalence of both allergic and autoimmune diseases has increased, leading to the development of the hygiene hypothesis. The hypothesis states that lack of early environmental stimulus leading to inappropriate development and bias in IR, may contribute to this increase. The objectives of this thesis, therefore, were to: (a) Determine the IR bias of neonatal pigs. (b) Investigate the effect of heat-killed Escherichia coli, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and muramyl dipeptide (MDP) on the IR phenotype and the frequency of allergy in pigs sensitized to the egg white allergen ovomucoid (Ovm). (c) Establish IR phenotypes of pigs allergic or clinically tolerant to Ovm. Immune response bias was determined using an established phenotyping protocol and compared between two groups of pigs, (A) and (B). A difference in IR bias was observed. Bias in IR was not consistently towards type-2. Increase in indicators of type-1 IR, were greater in A and the frequency of type-2 IR correlates were greater in B. It’s likely that unidentified environmental variables may have induced this change, although etiology was not pursued. Treatment with heat-killed Escherichia coli, LPS and MDP had an effect on IR bias and frequency of allergy. Muramyl dipeptide-treatments promoted type-2 bias and were associated with increased frequency of allergy. Pre-treatment with E. coli did not affect allergic frequency, but did elicit the production of a relatively balanced allergen-specific IR phenotype. Lipopolysaccharide-pre-treatment was associated with decreased frequency of allergy. Correlates of an allergic IR phenotype in pigs were also established. The measurement of allergen-specific IgG, IgG1 and/or IgE activity and evaluation of late-phase intradermal skin tests were proposed to be useful in identifying allergic IR phenotypes. This thesis emphasizes the importance of considering the potential for variation in IR in terms of pig health and experimental reproducibility. Further, given the physiological similarities of pigs and humans, these findings may be extended to studies of food allergy in humans.