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J Immunol. 2007 May 15;178(10):6522-32.

Gnotobiotic IL-10-/-;NF-kappa B(EGFP) mice reveal the critical role of TLR/NF-kappa B signaling in commensal bacteria-induced colitis.

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Department of Medicine and Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27510, USA.


Commensal bacteria and TLR signaling have been associated with the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis in dextran sodium sulfate-induced intestinal injury. The aim of this study was to determine the in vivo role of TLR/NF-kappaB activation in a model of commensal bacteria-induced T cell-mediated colitis. A NF-kappaB reporter gene mouse (NF-kappaBEGFP) (EGFP, enhanced GFP) was crossed to the colitogenic susceptible strain IL-10-/- and derived into germfree conditions using embryo-transfer technology. Germfree IL-10wt/wt;NF-kappaBEGFP and IL-10-/-;NF-kappaBEGFP mice (wt, wild type) were dual associated with the nonpathogenic commensal bacteria strains Enterococcus faecalis and Escherichia coli. EGFP was detected using macroimaging, confocal microscopy, and flow cytometry. IL-10-/-;MyD88-/- mice were used to assess E. faecalis/E. coli-induced TLR-dependent signaling and IL-23 gene expression. Dual-associated IL-10-/-;NF-kappaBEGFP mice developed severe inflammation by 7 wk. Macroscopic analysis showed elevated EGFP expression throughout the colon of bacteria-associated IL-10-/-;NF-kappaBEGFP mice. Confocal microscopy analysis revealed EGFP-positive enterocytes during the early phase of bacterial colonization (1 wk) in both IL-10wt/wt and IL-10-/- mice, while the signal shifted toward lamina propria T cells, dendritic cells, neutrophils, and macrophages in IL-10-/- mice during colitis (7 wk). The NF-kappaB inhibitor BAY 11-7085 attenuated E. faecalis/E. coli-induced EGFP expression and development of colitis. Additionally, E. faecalis/E. coli-induced NF-kappaB signaling and IL-23 gene expression were blocked in bone marrow-derived dendritic cells derived from IL-10-/-;MyD88-/- mice. We conclude that bacteria-induced experimental colitis involves the activation of TLR-induced NF-kappaB signaling derived mostly from mucosal immune cells. Blocking TLR-induced NF-kappaB activity may represent an attractive strategy to treat immune-mediated intestinal inflammation.

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