Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003 Nov;285(5):G1049-55. Epub 2003 Jun 11.

Toxin B of Clostridium difficile activates human VIP submucosal neurons, in part via an IL-1beta-dependent pathway.

Author information

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U539; Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, 1, place Alexis Ricordeau, 44035 Nantes, France.


This study investigated whether toxin B of Clostridium difficile can activate human submucosal neurons and the involved pathways. Isolated segments of human colon were placed in organ culture for 3 h in the presence of toxin B or IL-1beta. Whole mounts of internal submucosal plexus were stained with antibodies against c-Fos, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), and substance P (SP). The membrane potential (Vm) response of submucosal neurons to local application of toxin B and IL-1beta was determined by a multisite optical recording technique. Toxin B (0.1 to 10 ng/ml) increased the proportion of c-Fos-positive neurons dose dependently compared with the control. In the presence of toxin B (10 ng/ml), most c-Fos-positive neurons were immunoreactive for VIP (79.8 +/- 22.5%) but only 19.4 +/- 14.0% for SP. Toxin B induced a rapid rise in IL-1beta mRNA level and a sixfold increase in IL-1beta protein in supernatant after 3 h of incubation. c-Fos expression induced by toxin B was reduced dose dependently by IL-1 receptor antagonist (0.1-10 ng/ml). IL-1beta significantly increased c-Fos expression in submucosal neurons compared with the control (34.2 +/- 10.1 vs. 5.1 +/- 1.3% of NSE neurons). Microejection of toxin B had no effect on the Vm of enteric neurons. Evidence of a direct excitatory effect of IL-1beta on Vm was detected in a minority of enteric neurons. Therefore, toxin B of C. difficile activates VIP-positive submucosal neurons, at least in part, via an indirect IL-1beta-dependent pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center