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World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Sep 28;18(36):5042-50. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i36.5042.

Tumor necrosis factor alpha increases intestinal permeability in mice with fulminant hepatic failure.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, the First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, Liaoning Province, China.



To determine the effect of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) on intestinal permeability (IP) in mice with fulminant hepatic failure (FHF), and the expression of tight junction proteins.


We selected D-lactate as an index of IP, induced FHF using D-galactosamine/lipopolysaccharide and D-galactosamine/TNF-α, assessed the results using an enzymatic-spectrophotometric method, transmission electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The effect of the administration of anti-TNF-α immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody, before the administration of D-galactosamine/lipopolysaccharide, on TNF-α was also assessed.


IP was significantly increased in the mouse model of FHF 6 h after injection (13.57 ± 1.70 mg/L, 13.02 ± 1.97 mg/L vs 3.76 ± 0.67 mg/L, P = 0.001). Electron microscopic analysis revealed tight junction (TJ) disruptions, epithelial cell swelling, and atrophy of intestinal villi. Expression of occludin and claudin-1 mRNA was significantly decreased in both FHF models (occludin: 0.57 ± 0.159 fold vs baseline, P = 0.000; claudin-1: 0.3067 ± 0.1291 fold vs baseline, P = 0.003), as were the distribution density of proteins in the intestinal mucosa and the levels of occludin and claudin-1 protein (occludin: 0.61 ± 0.0473 fold vs baseline, P = 0.000; claudin-1: 0.6633 ± 0.0328 fold vs baseline, P = 0.000). Prophylactic treatment with anti-TNF-α IgG antibody prevented changes in IP (4.50 ± 0.97 mg/L vs 3.76 ± 0.67 mg/L, P = 0.791), intestinal tissue ultrastructure, and the mRNA levels of occludin and claudin-1 expression (occludin: 0.8865 ± 0.0274 fold vs baseline, P = 0.505; claudin-1: 0.85 ± 0.1437 fold vs baseline, P = 0.1), and in the protein levels (occludin: 0.9467 ± 0.0285 fold vs baseline, P > 0.05; claudin-1: 0.9533 ± 0.0186 fold vs baseline, P = 0.148).


Increased in IP stemmed from the downregulation of the TJ proteins occludin and claudin-1, and destruction of the TJ in the colon, which were induced by TNF-α in FHF mice.


Claudin-1; Fulminant hepatic failure; Intestinal permeability; Occludin; Tumor necrosis factor alpha

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