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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Aug;299(2):G381-90. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00003.2010. Epub 2010 Jun 3.

Toll-like receptor-4 genotype influences the survival of cystic fibrosis mice.

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Dept. of Medicine, McGill Univ., Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Toll-like receptor (Tlr) 4 is a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptor that contributes to the regulation of intestinal cell homeostasis, a condition that is altered in the intestines of cystic fibrosis mice. Herein, we assessed whether Tlr4 genotype influences cystic fibrosis intestinal disease by producing and phenotyping 12-wk (adult)- and 4-day (neonate)-old mice derived from BALB cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, Cftr(+/tm1Unc) and C.C3-Tlr4(Lps-d)/J (Tlr4(-/-)), progenitors. Intestinal disease was assayed through mouse survival, crypt-villus axis (CVA) length, cell proliferation, bacterial load, bacterial classification, inflammatory cell infiltrate, and mucus content measures. Of the 77 Cftr(-/-) (CF) mice produced, only one Cftr/Tlr4 double-mutant mouse lived to the age of 12 wk while the majority of the remainder succumbed at approximately 4 days of age. The survival of CF Tlr4(+/-) mice exceeded that of both CF Tlr4(+/+) and Cftr/Tlr4 double-mutant mice. Adult CF mice presented increased Tlr4 expression, CVA length, crypt cell proliferation, and bacterial load relative to non-CF mice, but no differences were detected in Tlr4(+/-) compared with Tlr4(+/+) CF mice. The double-mutant neonates did not differ from Tlr4(+/+) or Tlr4(+/-) CF mice by intestinal CVA length or bacterial load, but fewer Tlr4(+/-) CF neonates presented with luminal mucus obstruction in the distal ileum, and the intestinal mast cell increase of CF mice was not evident in double-mutant neonates. We conclude that Tlr4 deficiency reduces the survival, but does not alter the intestinal phenotypes, of extended CVA or increased bacterial load in BALB CF mice.

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