Transcriptomes of whole blood and PBMC in chicken


Global transcriptome analysis of chicken whole blood to discover biomarkers of different phenotypes or physiological disorders has never been investigated so far. Whole blood provides significant advantages, allowing large scale and non-invasive sampling. However, generation of gene expression data from the blood of non-mammalian species remains a challenge, notably due to the nucleated red blood cells, hindering the use of well-established protocols. The aim of this study was to analyze the relevance of using whole blood cells (WB) to find biomarkers, instead of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC), usually chosen for immune challenges. RNA sources from WB and PBMC was characterized by microarray analysis. Our results show that the quality and quantity of RNA obtained from WB was suitable for further analyses, although the quality was lower than that from PBMC. The transcriptome profiling comparison revealed that the majority of genes were expressed in both WB and PBMC. Hemoglobin subunits were the major transcripts in WB, whereas the most enriched biological process was related to protein catabolic process. Most of the over-represented transcripts in PBMC were implicated in functions specific to thrombocytes, like coagulation and platelet activation, probably due to the large proportion of this nucleated cell type in chicken PBMC. Functions related to B and T cells and to other immune functions were also enriched in the PBMC subset. We conclude that WB is more suitable for large scale immunity oriented studies and other biological processes that have been poorly investigated so far.

In Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology