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Identification of genes involved in mucosal defense and inflammation associated with normal enteric bacteria.

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Department of Surgery, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


Normal luminal bacteria and their products play a role in experimental colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. However, what molecules from what cells are responsible for mounting and maintaining the mucosal defense against luminal flora is still uncertain. The aim of this study was to identify epithelial gene products involved in mucosal defense and inflammation associated with ubiquitous enteric bacteria. Germ-free ICR mice were given an oral bacterial suspension prepared from conventional components (bacterial reconstitution). Small intestinal and colonic epithelial cells were isolated from bacteria-reconstituted, germ-free, and specific pathogen-free mice. Differential gene expression was investigated by differential display, Northern blot, and sequence analysis. Bacterial reconstitution resulted in acute but self-limited colitis. In epithelial cells, we observed the induction of small intestine-specific genes of the cryptdin family and colon-specific expression of serum amyloid A1 gene. This novel approach allows the identification of known and novel gene products involved in mucosal defense against luminal microorganisms and the associated inflammatory response.

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