Recognizing Age-related Differences in Immune Response of Foals
Bacterial infections are major causes of disease and death in foals, and neonatal foals in particular are at increased risk of infectious diseases. Strong innate immune responses are critical for protecting newborn foals from infections. Neutrophils—mature white blood cells that fight disease—play an essential role in innate immunity, but functional responses of neutrophils are immature in newborns. To better understand this deficiency, this research will compare structural changes in genes and the genes’ regulatory elements of neutrophils of newborn foals to those of older foals in order to identify the critical regulators of impaired neutrophil function in newborns. The information obtained from the study will be used to identify biological pathways and processes that are involved in regulating neutrophil maturation and target them for therapeutic interventions to enhance foal resistance to infectious disease. This study could have a major impact on foal health because bacterial infections are the leading causes of disease and death neonatal foals.
Dr. Noah Cohen, Texas A&M University