Research Output
Ovine trophoblasts express cathelicidin host defence peptide in response to infection
  Cationic host defence peptides (CHDP; also known as antimicrobial peptides) are key components of the immune response in the female reproductive tract. The role of the placental trophoblast in ovine host defence remains poorly understood. This study characterises expression of genes for cathelicidin and defensin peptides in primary ovine placental tissues, the ovine trophoblast cell line (AH-1) and in response to the TLR-4 ligand LPS, the abortifacient organism Waddlia chondrophila and 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Using RT-PCR, expression of the CHDP SMAP-29, sBD-1 and sBD-2 was assessed in the AH-1 cell line in response to LPS, 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 exposure (a known stimulator of cathelicidin gene expression), or W. chondrophila infection. Expression of cathelicidin in the trophoblast compartment of the ovine placenta and in the ovine trophoblast cell line (AH-1) was also established. AH-1 cells did not upregulate expression of CHDP in response to LPS, but sBD-1 and sBD-2 expression was significantly increased in response to W. chondrophila infection. SMAP-29 expression was not altered by in vitro exposure to 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. This study demonstrates that the ovine trophoblast expresses cathelicidins, but does not upregulate expression of CHDP in response to LPS. Ovine trophoblasts are shown to differentially regulate expression of CHDP and lack a demonstrable vitamin D-mediated cathelicidin response.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    21 June 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    QR Microbiology

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    636.089 Veterinary Medicine

  • Funders:

    Scottish Government RESAS; Edinburgh Napier University


Coyle, C., Wheelhouse, N., Jacques, M., Longbottom, D., Svoboda, P., Pohl, J., …Barlow, P. G. (2016). Ovine trophoblasts express cathelicidin host defence peptide in response to infection. Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 117, 10-16.



Chlamydia-related organisms; Waddlia; Cathelicidin; Defensin; Antimicrobial peptide; Trophoblast

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