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An imbalance in mucosal cytokine profile causes transient intestinal inflammation following an animal's first exposure to faecal bacteria and antigens

By B C Sydora, S M MacFarlane, M Lupicki, A L Dmytrash, L A Dieleman and R N Fedorak


Intestinal microflora play a critical role in the initiation and perpetuation of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. In genetically susceptible hosts, bacterial colonization results in rapid-onset chronic intestinal inflammation. Nevertheless, the intestinal and systemic immune response to faecal bacteria and antigen exposure into a sterile intestinal lumen of a post-weaned animal with a mature immune system are not understood clearly. This study examined the effects of faecal bacteria and antigen exposure on the intestinal mucosal and systemic immune system in healthy axenic mice. Axenic wild-type mice were inoculated orally with a crude faecal slurry solution derived from conventionally raised mice and were analysed prior to and then at days 3, 7, 14 and 28 post-treatment. Ingestion of faecal slurry resulted in a transient, early onset of proinflammatory interferon (IFN)-γ, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-17 response that was maximal at day 3. In contrast, the transient release of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10 and IL-4 occurred later and was maximal at day 7. Both responses subsided by day 14. This early cytokine imbalance was associated with a brief rise in colonic and caecal histopathological injury score at day 7. The bacterial antigen-specific systemic response was found to follow the intestinal immune response with a maximal release of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines at day 7. Thus, first exposure of healthy axenic wild-type mice to normal faecal flora and antigens results in an early proinflammatory cytokine response and transient colonic inflammation that then resolves in conjunction with a subsequent anti-inflammatory cytokine profile

Topics: Animal Models
Publisher: Blackwell Science Inc
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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