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Clin Exp Med. 2015 Feb;15(1):107-20. doi: 10.1007/s10238-013-0270-5. Epub 2014 Jan 11.

Immunological alteration and changes of gut microbiota after dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) administration in mice.

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Food Hygiene, Division of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University, Lund, Sweden,


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the colonic mucosa. Administration of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) to animals is a frequently used model to mimic human colitis. Deregulation of the immune response to the enteric microflora or pathogens as well as increased intestinal permeability have been proposed as disease-driving mechanisms. To enlarge the understanding of the pathogenesis, we have studied the effect of DSS on the immune system and gut microbiota in mice. Intestinal inflammation was verified through histological evaluation and myeloperoxidase activity. Immunological changes were assessed by flow cytometry in spleen, Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes and through multiplex cytokine profiling. In addition, quantification of the total amount of bacteria on colonic mucosa as well as the total amount of lactobacilli, Akkermansia, Desulfovibrio and Enterobacteriaceae was performed by the use of quantitative PCR. Diversity and community structure were analysed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) patterns, and principal component analysis was utilized on immunological and T-RFLP patterns. DSS-induced colitis show clinical and histological similarities to UC. The composition of the colonic microflora was profoundly changed and correlated with several alterations of the immune system. The results demonstrate a relationship between multiple immunological changes and alterations of the gut microbiota after DSS administration. These data highlight and improve the definition of the immunological basis of the disease and suggest a role for dysregulation of the gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of colitis.

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