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PLoS One. 2009 Dec 9;4(12):e8226. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008226.

Toll-like receptor mRNA expression is selectively increased in the colonic mucosa of two animal models relevant to irritable bowel syndrome.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Neurogastroenterology, Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is largely viewed as a stress-related disorder caused by aberrant brain-gut-immune communication and altered gastrointestinal (GI) homeostasis. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that stress modulates innate immune responses; however, very little is known on the immunological effects of stress on the GI tract. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are critical pattern recognition molecules of the innate immune system. Activation of TLRs by bacterial and viral molecules leads to activation of NF-kB and an increase in inflammatory cytokine expression. It was our hypothesis that innate immune receptor expression may be changed in the gastrointestinal tract of animals with stress-induced IBS-like symptoms.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

In this study, our objective was to evaluate the TLR expression profile in the colonic mucosa of two rat strains that display colonic visceral hypersensitivity; the stress-sensitive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat and the maternally separated (MS) rat. Quantitative PCR of TLR2-10 mRNA in both the proximal and distal colonic mucosae was carried out in adulthood. Significant increases are seen in the mRNA levels of TLR3, 4 & 5 in both the distal and proximal colonic mucosa of MS rats compared with controls. No significant differences were noted for TLR 2, 7, 9 & 10 while TLR 6 could not be detected in any samples in both rat strains. The WKY strain have increased levels of mRNA expression of TLR3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 & 10 in both the distal and proximal colonic mucosa compared to the control Sprague-Dawley strain. No significant differences in expression were found for TLR2 while as before TLR6 could not be detected in all samples in both strains.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that both early life stress (MS) and a genetic predisposition (WKY) to stress affect the expression of key sentinels of the innate immune system which may have direct relevance for the molecular pathophysiology of IBS.

PMID:
20011045
PMCID:
PMC2785428
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0008226
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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