Stephanie Skinner, D.V.M.
Education: Bachelor of Science in animal sciences and industry (May 2014)
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University
McNair Project: Expression of Cathelicidins in the Urogenital Tract of Mares (2012)
Mentor: Maria Soledad Ferrer, Ph.D.
Host defense peptides have antimicrobial properties and may be a therapeutic option for endometritis caused by drug resistant bacteria. Three cathelicidins are expressed by myeloid cells and mature neutrophils in the horse, with antimicrobial activity against common equine pathogens. Our working hypothesis is that cathelicidins are present in the urogenital tract of the mare. Tissue was collected from the urogenital tract of two reproductively healthy mares post-mortem and stored in liquid nitrogen. Total RNA was extracted using the TRizol method. The mRNA was isolated from the total RNA with SuperScriptTM III (Agilent) oligo(dt)s and then transcribed into cDNA. The cDNA was amplified with conventional PCR and analyzed with a 2% agarose gel. During standardization, eCATH-1 and 2 were expressed in the kidney cortex, and eCATH-3 in the kidney medulla, oviduct, uterine horn, and uterine body. Further work is needed to quantitatively assess the expression of cathelicidins throughout the urogenital tract.