Developmental expression and distribution of sheep β-defensin-2

David K. Meyerholz, Jack M. Gallup, Branka M. Grubor, Richard B. Evans, Brian F. Tack, Paul B. McCray, Mark R. Ackermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to define the ontogeny of sheep β-defensin-2 (SBD-2) mRNA and peptide in selected tissues of fetal, neonatal and adult sheep by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Fetal and neonatal lambs had significantly greater SBD-2 tissue distribution than adult sheep. For all ages, the intestines had consistent SBD-2 mRNA expression while extra intestinal expression was sporadic and weak. In adult sheep, SBD-2 mRNA levels decreased from the jejunum caudally to the rectum and a pooled sample from all age groups showed a similar tendency. SBD-2 immunoreactive cells were predominantly in the crypts and base of villi in the small intestine and in a modest number of glands in the large intestine. Interestingly, ileal follicle-associated epithelium lacked detectable SBD-2 immunoreactivity. SBD-2 mRNA and peptide expression are greatest in the intestinal tract and tissue distribution progressively decreases with maturity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the J.G. Salsbury endowment and the USDA National Research Initiative, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service grant (agreement number 99-35204-7681). We would like to thank Rachel Derscheid, Erin Costello and Jim Fosse for technical assistance.


  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Fetus
  • Follicle-associated epithelium
  • Intestine
  • Neonate
  • Ontogeny
  • Sheep β-defensin-2


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