Objective - To determine gene expression of selected molecular markers (tumor necrosis factor [TNFI-(α, interleukin [IL]-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, procalcitonin [PCT], and transforming growth factor [TGF]-β) in the blood of healthy and sick foals. Animals - 28 sick foals without sepsis, 21 foals with sepsis, and 21 healthy foals. Procedures - Total RNA was extracted from blood samples and converted into complementary DNA (cDNA). Gene expression was measured for the molecular markers by use of real-time PCR assay, and final quantitation was performed with the comparative threshold cycle method. Results - Samples from all foals yielded transcription for all markers. Expression of TNF-α and TGF-β was significantly lower and that of IL-8 significantly greater in the sick-nonseptic and septic groups, compared with the healthy group. No significant difference in expression of IL-1β, IL-6, and PCT was found between the healthy group and the 2 sick groups. Expression of IL-10 was significantly greater in non-survivors, compared with survivors. Conclusions and clinical relevance-The cytokin e profile in foals with sepsis may suggest an immuno-suppressive state. Expression of IL-10 may be a marker for identification of foals with a guarded prognosis.
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