Ann N Y Acad Sci., vol.1078, pp.482-6, 2006 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
Ehrlichia canis (E. canis) is a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-deficient obligatory intracellular bacterium that causes canine monocytic ehrlichiosis, a chronic febrile disease accompanied with hematological abnormality. This study analyzed temporal expression levels of IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha mRNA by peripheral blood leukocytes from dogs experimentally infected with a new virulent strain of E. canis by using real-time RT-PCR. Relative levels of IL-1beta and IL-8 transcripts normalized by the beta-actin transcript levels, were significantly upregulated, whereas those of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma transcripts were only weakly upregulated in all three infected dogs, starting from 2 days up to 52 days post inoculation. The expressions of IL-2 and IL-6 genes were extremely low compared with the positive control (ConA-stimulated canine peripheral blood leukocytes). This study showed that E. canis can induce chronic expression of a subset of proinflammatory cytokine genes: balance, timing, and duration of these cytokine generations may contribute to the progression of canine ehrlichiosis.