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Int J Food Microbiol. 2009 Apr 30;131(1):40-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.12.037. Epub 2009 Mar 4.

Differential crosstalk between epithelial cells, dendritic cells and bacteria in a co-culture model.

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Laboratory of Lactic Acid Bacteria and Mucosal Immunity, Institut Pasteur of Lille, 1 rue du Prof. Calmette, Lille, France.


Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) provide a primary physical barrier against commensal and pathogenic bacteria, but the influence of IECs in the regulation of the associated mucosal immune system remains largely unknown. The network of dendritic cells (DCs) in the vicinity of IECs is known to play a crucial role in the regulation of gut homeostasis. We investigated the cross-talk between murine IECs (m-IC(cl2) cell line), bone marrow derived DCs and different bacteria using an in vitro Transwell co-culture model. IECs responded poorly to different gram-positive lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and to a Staphylococcus aureus strain. In contrast two Escherichia coli strains, including the probiotic strain Nissle 1917, strongly activated IECs, as evidenced by the induction of different chemokines. While a differential maturation of DCs is observed upon direct stimulation with the various bacteria, DC maturation across the epithelial barrier was only observed upon challenge of the apical surface of the IECs with both E. coli strains and LPS. These results suggested that the capacity of bacteria to induce pro-inflammatory signals through the epithelial barrier is not linked to their pathogenic or commensal status, but seem to be dependent on the presence of specific surface factors. As already reported, we confirmed that m-IC(cl2) cells are highly susceptible to LPS. It is highly possible, at least in this model, that free LPS is the "specific factor" key to activate IEC or BMDC. Moreover, IECs are broadly unresponsive to gram-positive bacterial components, notably TLR-2 ligands, in contrast to gram-negative bacterial components. These results suggest that the gut epithelium will sense the commensal bacteria in a different way, and seems to be unresponsive to gram positive bacteria in particular to LAB.

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