CCK-8 detection of cell proliferation activity induced by LPS
As shown in the Fig. 1, the activity of the cells began to decline to varying degrees in the 100 µg/ml LPS for 12 h. As the activity of cells induced by LPS of 500 µg/ml and 1000 µg/ml was too low, we chose 100 µg/ml culture for 12 h as the best treatment condition.
Apoptosis Of LPS-induced BMECS
In the Fig. 2A, approximately only 4.44% early apoptosis and late apoptosis were observed without LPS. In the Fig. 2B, upon addition of 100 µg/ml LPS, the whole image shifted to the right, and approximately 7.48% (Early apoptosis 2.73 + Late apoptosis 4.75) apoptosis occurred. The apoptosis effect was not obvious. When 200 µg/ml LPS was added to group C (Fig. 2C), the whole image of group C showed obvious clustering, and approximately 49.12% of the cells showed early and late apoptosis, which was suitable for the mastitis model in the follow-up experiment (Fig. 2).
Effect Of Tea Tree Oil On LPS-induced BMECs
The blank control group A (Fig. 3A) showed apoptosis of normal growth mammary epithelial cells without any treatment. The proportion of living cells was 92.10%, the proportion of early apoptotic cells was 2.08%, and the proportion of late apoptotic cells was 4.44%. In group B, mammary epithelial cells treated with 200 µg/ml LPS treatment showed apoptosis. Among these cells, the proportion of living cells was 50.66%, the proportion of early apoptotic cells was 45.70%, and the proportion of late apoptotic cells was 3.42%. After adding different concentrations of TTO to C-L (Fig. 3C- Fig. 3L), Group D (Fig. 3D), E (Fig. 3E), and F (Fig. 3F) achieved some protective effects, especially group E. The proportion of living cells, early apoptotic cells and late apoptotic cells was 71.95%, 22.15% and 5.11%, respectively.
Effect of tea tree oil on inflammatory factors and apoptotic factors in the LPS-induced mastitis model
TNF-α and IL-6 are inflammatory factors related to the inflammatory response(20). STAT1 is related to apoptosis(21). Compared with the blank group, TNF-α and IL-6 were expressed more than 15 times higher in response to LPS treatment at a concentration of 200 µg/ml. Additionally, STAT1 expression increased nearly 6 times after addition of TTO at 0.0004%, 0.0006% and 0.0008%, respectively. The expression of TNF-α and IL-6 decreased with the increase in TTO concentration. The decrease in TNF-α expression was more obvious. The expression of IL-6 was significantly different. The expression of STAT1 increased slightly upon addition of 0.0004% TTO. The expression level with 0.0006% and 0.0008% was lower than in the LPS group. The expression level was lowest with a 0.0006% concentration of TTO (Fig. 4).
Expression Of Inflammatory And Apoptotic Proteins
The experimental results are shown in Fig. 5. After addition of 200 µg/ml LPS, the LPS group showed significantly increased protein expression of NF-κB, MAPK and caspase-3. The protein expression levels of NF-κB, MAPK and caspase-3 were significantly reduced in the experimental TTO groups.
Transcriptome Analysis Of Data Output Statistics
Through the Illumina platform, a large number of samples were sequenced. Considering the impact of the data error rate on the results, we used trimmatomatic software to preprocess the quality of the original data and to generate a statistical summary of the number of reads in the whole quality control process.
Analysis Of The Gene Expression Level
In the transcriptome sequencing analysis, the protein coding gene expression level was estimated by counting the sequencing sequence (reads) located in the region of the protein-coding genome or exon of the protein-coding gene. In addition to the true expression level of protein-coding genes, the read count was also positively related to the length and sequencing depth of the protein-coding genes. The Fpkm method was used to calculate the expression of protein-coding genes, which is the number of fragments from a protein coding gene per thousand base length in every million fragments. Fpkm is one of the most commonly used methods to estimate the expression level of protein-coding genes.
Horizontal Box Plot Of Gene Expression
The box Whistler plot is a method to describe data using five statistics (minimum, first quartile (25%), median (50%), third quartile (75%) and maximum) in data. This plot can also roughly assess the symmetry, distribution dispersion and other information in the data. Figure 6 shows that the degree of symmetry and dispersion was good.
Correlation Test Between Samples
The correlation of protein-coding gene expression among samples is an important index to test the reliability of the experiment and the rationale for the sample selection. The closer the correlation coefficient is to one, the higher the similarity is between the expression patterns. Figure 8 shows that the similarity of the LPS group was close to one. The similarity of the control group was close to 1(Fig. 7).
Principal Component Analysis
Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to investigate the distribution of samples, to explore the relationship between samples or to verify the experimental design. PCA can show the relationship between samples from different dimensions. The LPS group and control group shown in the PCA diagram are close to each other. The data are very good (Fig. 8).
Differential Gene Screening
The number of counts of each sample gene was standardized using DESeq software. Nb (negative binomial distribution test) was used to test the significance of the read difference. Finally, the differentially expressed protein-coding genes were screened according to the test results showing multiple and significant differences. The condition used to screen differences was p < 0.05 and that to screen multiple differences was more than 2. A total of 1270 mRNAs were identified as differentially expressed, of which 787 genes were upregulated and 483 genes were downregulated. The differentially expressed genes include TNF - α, IL6, STAT1, mapk4, etc. Among these genes, TNF-α and IL6 were significantly up-regulated. The difference multiples were 4.41 and 6.28 times, respectively (Fig. 9, Table S1).
GO Analysis Of Differentially Expressed Genes
After identifying differentially expressed genes by GO analysis, we analyzed the enrichment of differentially expressed genes and described their functions. GO annotation of differentially expressed mRNA was used to identify participation in biological process, molecular function, cellular component and signal pathway in the cell before and after LPS treatment. The GO annotation results indicated that the differentially expressed mRNA might participate in biological adhesion, biological regulation, cell killing, cellular component organization or biogenesis, cellular process, developmental process, growth, immune system process, negative regulation of biological process, positive regulation of biological process, cell junction, among others (Fig. 10).
KEGG Analysis Of Differentially Expressed Genes
The KEGG database was used to perform pathway analysis of differentially expressed protein-coding genes, and the hypergeometric distribution test was used to calculate the significance of differential gene enrichment in each pathway entry. The top 20 were obtained by KEGG enrichment analysis. The differentially expressed mRNA might participate in TNF signaling pathway, Rheumatoid arthritis, Inflammatiory, Staphylococcus aureus infection, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Graft-versus-host disease, Allograft rejection, Intestinal immune network for IgA production, Type I diabetes mellitus, Herpes simplex infection, Toll-like receptor signaling pathway, NF-kappa B signaling pathway, among others (Fig. 11).
Gene Function Research
To verify the accuracy of the screening, we verified the function of some genes. In this study, the functions of TNF-α and IL6 were verified by treating mammary epithelial cells with LPS and TTO + LPS. Compared with Blank, the cells treated with LPS showed a heighten degree of apoptosis. However, the TTO + LPS group inhibited this state (Fig. 12A). In the immunohistochemical experiment, the cells treated with LPS also showed heighten degree of TNF-α and IL6 expression. The expression of TNF-α and IL6 was significantly in TTO + LPS group (Fig. 12B and 12C). Results showed TNF-α and IL6 were observed to play important roles in mediating the preventive effect of tea tree oil on mastitis in LPS-stimulated bovine mammary epithelial cells (Fig. 12).