Tumor necrosis factor signaling during equine placental infection leads to pro-apoptotic and necroptotic outcomes

Carleigh E. Fedorka, Hossam El-Sheikh Ali, Kirsten E. Scoggin, Shavahn C. Loux, Barry A. Ball, Mats H.T. Troedsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Ascending placentitis is the leading cause of abortion in the horse. The pleiotropic cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is an upstream regulator of this disease, but little is understood regarding its function in pregnancy maintenance or placental infection. To assess this, RNA sequencing was performed on chorioallantois and endometrium of healthy pregnant mares at various gestational lengths (n = 4/gestational age), in addition to postpartum chorioallantois, and diestrus endometrium to assess expression of TNF, TNFR-1, and TNFR-2. Additionally, ascending placentitis was induced via trans-cervical inoculation of S. equi spp. zooepidemicus in pregnant mares (n = 6 infected / n = 6 control) and tissues and serum were collected to evaluate TNF-related transcripts. IHC was performed to confirm protein localization of TNFR-1 and TNFR-2. In healthy pregnancy, TNFR-1 appears to be the predominant TNF-related receptor. Following induction of disease, TNF concentrations increased in maternal serum, but expression did not alter at the tissue level. While both TNFR-1 and TNFR-2 increased following induction of disease, alterations in downstream pathways indicate that TNFR-1 is the dominant receptor in ascending placentitis, and is primarily activated within the chorioallantois, with minimal signaling occurring within the endometrium. In conclusion, TNF appears to be involved in the pathophysiology of ascending placentitis. An increase in this cytokine during disease progression is believed to activate TNFR-1 within the chorioallantois, leading to various pro-apoptotic and necroptotic outcomes, all of which may signal for fetal demise and impending abortion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103655
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the University of Kentucky Albert G. Clay Endowment .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Chorioallantois
  • Cytokine
  • Infectious abortion
  • Placentitis
  • Tumor necrosis factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Tumor necrosis factor signaling during equine placental infection leads to pro-apoptotic and necroptotic outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this