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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2011 Dec;301(6):G1020-30. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00239.2011. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Depletion of gut commensal bacteria attenuates intestinal ischemia/reperfusion injury.

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Rheumatology Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Gut commensal bacteria play important roles in the development and homeostasis of intestinal immunity. However, the role of gut commensals in intestinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is unclear. To determine the roles of gut commensal bacteria in intestinal IR injury, we depleted gut microbiota with a broad-spectrum antibiotic cocktail and performed mesenteric I/R (M I/R). First, we confirmed that antibiotic treatment completely depleted gut commensal bacteria and diminished the size of secondary lymphoid tissues such as the Peyer's patches. We next found that antibiotic treatment attenuated intestinal injury following M I/R. Depletion of gut commensal bacteria reduced the expression of Toll-like receptor (TLR)2 and TLR4 in the intestine. Both are well-known receptors for gram-positive and -negative bacteria. Decreased expression of TLR2 and TLR4 led to the reduction of inflammatory mediators, such as TNF, IL-6, and cyclooxygenase-2. Intestinal I/R injury is initiated when natural antibodies recognize neo-antigens that are revealed on ischemic cells and activate the complement pathway. Thus we evaluated complement and immunoglobulin (Ig) deposition in the damaged intestine and found that antibiotic treatment decreased the deposition of both C3 and IgM. Interestingly, we also found that the deposition of IgA also increased in the intestine following M I/R compared with control mice and that antibiotic treatment decreased the deposition of IgA in the damaged intestine. These results suggest that depletion of gut commensal bacteria decreases B cells, Igs, and TLR expression in the intestine, inhibits complement activation, and attenuates intestinal inflammation and injury following M I/R.

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