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Eur J Immunol. 2007 Sep;37(9):2509-17.

NF-kappaB p50 and p65 subunits control intestinal homeostasis.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Mice which lack the p50 subunit of NF-kappaB and are heterozygous for the p65 subunit (3X mice), are exquisitely sensitive to LPS-induced shock. Here, we demonstrate that prior to becoming moribund, 3X mice challenged with LPS develop a profound enteropathy. The enteropathy is characterized by defects in intestinal barrier function, increased epithelial apoptosis, and deregulated intestinal cytokine gene expression. The defect that sensitizes 3X mice to LPS-induced enteropathy is located within the innate immune compartment, as LPS induced similar findings in 3X mice lacking lymphocytes (3X/RAG). TNF-alpha depletion ameliorated the ability of LPS to induce pathology and TNF-alpha was able to independently induce similar findings, suggesting that TNF-alpha plays a critical role in the development of LPS-induced pathology in these mice. These data highlight that NF-kappaB subunits have essential functions in regulating intestinal homeostasis during acute inflammation.

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