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Gut Microbes. 2011 May-Jun;2(3):134-44. doi: 10.4161/gmic.2.3.16483.

Mucosal changes in a long-term bovine intestinal segment model following removal of ingesta and microflora.

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VIDO/Intervac, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.


The intestinal immune system influences responses to both enteric pathogens and commensal microflora but few models are available to analyze mucosal immune responses to either enteric pathogens or commensal microflora. We surgically isolated ileal segments in 2-3 week old calves, infused antibiotics, and subdivided each segment into three compartments. Following a 6-8 week period the isolated ileal segments appeared grossly normal in 4 of 5 calves, retained compartmentalization, and contents were culture positive for either Enterococcus spp. or Escherichia coli. In a second experiment, isolated ileal segments were examined following a 9-11 month period and appeared grossly normal with compartmentalization retained in 8 of 11 animals. Streptococcus spp or Escherichia coli were cultured from segment contents collected from 3 of these 8 animals. Histology revealed a marked reduction in villus height in isolated ileal segments despite sustained crypt epithelium proliferation. Lymphoid follicles in ileal Peyer's patches were reduced in size but remained sites of active lymphoproliferation within segments. Significant mucosal T cell, macrophage, and dendritic cell depletion was observed in isolated ileal segments and T cell and NK cell depletion increased significantly in the absence of culturable bacteria. Finally, Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 expression was decreased but TLR-5 and -6 expression increased in ileal segments. Thus, isolated ileal segments remained relatively stable for prolonged periods and significant changes in mucosal leukocyte populations were correlated with the presence or absence of culturable microflora. Stable, as opposed to sterile, isolated ileal segments provide an opportunity to analyze bovine mucosal immune responses in the presence or absence of commensal microflora.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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