Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22675469
PLoS ONE 2012;7(6):e36446
Quantitative reverse transcription PCR analysis is an important tool to monitor changes in gene expression in animal models. The rabbit is a widely accepted and commonly used animal model in the study of human diseases and infections by viral, fungal, bacterial and protozoan pathogens. Only a limited number of rabbit genes have, however, been analyzed by this method as the rabbit genome sequence remains unfinished. Recently, increasing coverage of the genome has permitted the prediction of a growing number of genes that are relevant in the context of the immune response. We hereby report the design of twenty-four quantitative PCR primer pairs covering common cytokines, chemoattractants, antimicrobials and enzymes for a rapid, sensitive and quantitative analysis of the rabbit immune response. Importantly, all primer pairs were designed to be used under identical experimental conditions, thereby enabling the simultaneous analysis of all genes in a high-throughput format. This tool was used to analyze the rabbit innate immune response to infection with the human gastrointestinal pathogen Shigella flexneri. Beyond the known inflammatory mediators, we identified IL-22, IL-17A and IL-17F as highly upregulated cytokines and as first responders to infection during the innate phase of the host immune response. This set of qPCR primers also provides a convenient tool for monitoring the rabbit immune response during infection with other pathogens and other inflammatory conditions.