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Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2013 Dec 23;3:105. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2013.00105. eCollection 2013.

Intestinal epithelial cell apoptosis and loss of barrier function in the setting of altered microbiota with enteral nutrient deprivation.

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  • 1Section of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Health System Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Total parenteral nutrition (TPN), a commonly used treatment for patients who cannot receive enteral nutrition, is associated with significant septic complications due in part to a loss of epithelial barrier function (EBF). While the underlying mechanisms of TPN-related epithelial changes are poorly understood, a mouse model of TPN-dependence has helped identify several contributing factors. Enteral deprivation leads to a shift in intestinal microbiota to predominantly Gram-negative Proteobacteria. This is associated with an increase in expression of proinflammatory cytokines within the mucosa, including interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α. A concomitant loss of epithelial growth factors leads to a decrease in epithelial cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. The resulting loss of epithelial tight junction proteins contributes to EBF dysfunction. These mechanisms identify potential strategies of protecting against TPN-related complications, such as modification of luminal bacteria, blockade of proinflammatory cytokines, or growth factor replacement.


epithelial barrier function; epithelial call proliferation; epithelial cell apoptosis; microbiome; parenteral nutrition; small intestine

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