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Am J Pathol. 2002 Jun;160(6):2253-7.

Enterococcus faecalis induces inflammatory bowel disease in interleukin-10 knockout mice.

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Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


Germ-free interleukin-10 knockout (IL-10 KO) mice developed inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after they were colonized with a pure culture of Enterococcus faecalis. E. faecalis not only induced IBD (primarily in colon and rectum) but rectal dysplasia and adenocarcinoma was also found in the IL-10 KO mice. Conventional (complex-intestinal flora) IL-10 KO mice developed IBD within 10 to 15 weeks of age and showed more pathology in the cecum (typhlitis) than we observed with E. faecalis-induced IBD in gnotobiotic IL-10 KO mice. Conversely, neither germ-free IL-10 mice nor IL-10 KO mice colonized as adults, with a pure culture of Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus casei, L. reuteri, L. acidophilus, a Bifidobacterium sp., Lactococcus lactis, or a Bacillus sp. developed IBD during the 25- to 30-week study. E. faecalis is a common intestinal microbe of man and animals that can trigger IBD, dysplasia, and carcinoma in a genetically susceptible murine host.

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