Send to

Choose Destination
Gastroenterology. 2012 Oct;143(4):1006-16.e4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.06.034. Epub 2012 Jun 23.

Gut microbial products regulate murine gastrointestinal motility via Toll-like receptor 4 signaling.

Author information

Division of Digestive Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.



Altered gastrointestinal motility is associated with significant morbidity and health care costs. Toll-like receptors (TLR) regulate intestinal homeostasis. We examined the roles of TLR4 signaling in survival of enteric neurons and gastrointestinal motility.


We assessed changes in intestinal motility by assessing stool frequency, bead expulsion, and isometric muscle recordings of colonic longitudinal muscle strips from mice that do not express TLR4 (Tlr4(Lps-d) or TLR4(-/-)) or Myd88 (Myd88(-/-)), in wild-type germ-free mice or wild-type mice depleted of the microbiota, and in mice with neural crest-specific deletion of Myd88 (Wnt1Cre(+/-)/Myd88(fl/fl)). We studied the effects of the TLR4 agonist lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on survival of cultured, immortalized fetal enteric neurons and enteric neuronal cells isolated from wild-type and Tlr4(Lps-d) mice at embryonic day 13.5.


There was a significant delay in gastrointestinal motility and reduced numbers of nitrergic neurons in TLR4(Lps-d), TLR4(-/-), and Myd88(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice. A similar phenotype was observed in germ-free mice, mice depleted of intestinal microbiota, and Wnt1Cre(+/-)/Myd88(fl/fl) mice. Incubation of enteric neuronal cells with LPS led to activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor (NF)-κB and increased cell survival.


Interactions between enteric neurons and microbes increases neuron survival and gastrointestinal motility in mice. LPS activation of TLR4 and NF-κB appears to promote survival of enteric neurons. Factors that regulate TLR4 signaling in neurons might be developed to alter gastrointestinal motility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center