Mutations in the RET gene are the primary cause of Hirschsprung disease (HSCR), or congenital intestinal aganglionosis. However, how RET malfunction leads to HSCR is not known. It has recently been shown that the binding of glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) to GDNF family receptor α1 (GFRα1) activates RET and is essential for the survival of enteric neurons. In this study, we investigated Ret regulation of enteric neuron survival and its potential involvement in HSCR. Conditional ablation of Ret in postmigratory enteric neurons caused widespread neuronal death in the colon, which led to colonic aganglionosis. To further examine this finding, we generated a mouse model for HSCR by reducing Ret expression levels. These mice recapitulated the genetic and phenotypic features of HSCR and developed colonic aganglionosis due to impaired migration and successive death of enteric neural crest–derived cells. Death of enteric neurons was also induced in the colon, where reduction of Ret expression was induced after the period of enteric neural crest cell migration, indicating that diminished Ret expression directly affected the survival of colonic neurons. Thus, enteric neuron survival is sensitive to RET dosage, and cell death is potentially involved in the etiology of HSCR.
Toshihiro Uesaka, Mayumi Nagashimada, Shigenobu Yonemura, Hideki Enomoto
IL-10 is an immunomodulatory cytokine that plays an obligate role in preventing spontaneous enterocolitis in mice. However, little is known about IL-10 function in the human intestinal mucosa. We showed here that IL-10 was constitutively expressed and secreted by the human normal colonic mucosa, including epithelial cells. Depletion of IL-10 in mucosal explants induced both downregulation of the IL-10–inducible, immunosuppressive gene BCL3 and upregulation of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-17. Interestingly, TGF-β blockade also strongly induced IFN-γ production. In addition, the high levels of IFN-γ produced upon IL-10 depletion were responsible for surface epithelium damage and crypt loss, mainly by apoptosis. Polymyxin B, used as a scavenger of endogenous LPS, abolished both IFN-γ production and epithelial barrier disruption. Finally, adding a commensal bacteria strain to mucosa explant cultures depleted of both IL-10 and LPS reproduced the ability of endogenous LPS to induce IFN-γ secretion. These findings demonstrate that IL-10 ablation leads to an endogenous IFN-γ–mediated inflammatory response via LPS from commensal bacteria in the human colonic mucosa. We also found that both IL-10 and TGF-β play crucial roles in maintaining human colonic mucosa homeostasis.
Anne Jarry, Céline Bossard, Chantal Bou-Hanna, Damien Masson, Eric Espaze, Marc G. Denis, Christian L. Laboisse
The mechanisms underlying the susceptibility of individuals with caspase recruitment domain 15 (CARD15) mutations and corresponding abnormalities of nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) protein to Crohn disease are still poorly understood. One possibility is based on previous studies showing that muramyl dipeptide (MDP) activation of NOD2 negatively regulates TLR2 responses and that absence of such regulation leads to heightened Th1 responses. We now report that administration of MDP protects mice from the development of experimental colitis by downregulating multiple TLR responses, not just TLR2. The basis of these in vivo findings was suggested by in vitro studies of DCs, in which we showed that prestimulation of cells with MDP reduces cytokine responses to multiple TLR ligands and this reduction is dependent on enhanced IFN regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) activity. Further studies of mouse models of colitis showed that this inhibitory role of IRF4 does in fact apply to MDP-mediated protection from colitis, since neither IRF4-deficient mice nor mice treated with siRNA specific for IRF4 were protected. These findings indicate that MDP activation of NOD2 regulates innate responses to intestinal microflora by downregulating multiple TLR responses and suggest that the absence of such regulation leads to increased susceptibility to Crohn disease.
Tomohiro Watanabe, Naoki Asano, Peter J. Murray, Keiko Ozato, Prafullakumar Tailor, Ivan J. Fuss, Atsushi Kitani, Warren Strober
Patients with protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) fail to maintain intestinal epithelial barrier function and develop an excessive and potentially fatal efflux of plasma proteins. PLE occurs in ostensibly unrelated diseases, but emerging commonalities in clinical observations recently led us to identify key players in PLE pathogenesis. These include elevated IFN-γ, TNF-α, venous hypertension, and the specific loss of heparan sulfate proteoglycans from the basolateral surface of intestinal epithelial cells during PLE episodes. Here we show that heparan sulfate and syndecan-1, the predominant intestinal epithelial heparan sulfate proteoglycan, are essential in maintaining intestinal epithelial barrier function. Heparan sulfate– or syndecan-1–deficient mice and mice with intestinal-specific loss of heparan sulfate had increased basal protein leakage and were far more susceptible to protein loss induced by combinations of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and increased venous pressure. Similarly, knockdown of syndecan-1 in human epithelial cells resulted in increased basal and cytokine-induced protein leakage. Clinical application of heparin has been known to alleviate PLE in some patients but its unknown mechanism and severe side effects due to its anticoagulant activity limit its usefulness. We demonstrate here that non-anticoagulant 2,3-de-O-sulfated heparin could prevent intestinal protein leakage in syndecan-deficient mice, suggesting that this may be a safe and effective therapy for PLE patients.
Lars Bode, Camilla Salvestrini, Pyong Woo Park, Jin-Ping Li, Jeffrey D. Esko, Simon Murch, Hudson H. Freeze
Milk fat globule–EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8)/lactadherin participates in several cell surface–mediated regulatory events. Although its mRNA is present in the gut, the physiological roles of MFG-E8 in the intestinal mucosa have not been explored. Here we show that MFG-E8 was expressed in intestinal lamina propria macrophages from mice. Using a wound-healing assay, MFG-E8 was shown to promote the migration of intestinal epithelial cells through a PKCε-dependent mechanism. MFG-E8 bound to phosphatidylserine and triggered reorientation of the actin cytoskeleton in intestinal epithelial cells at the wound edge. Depleting MFG-E8 in mice by administration of anti–MFG-E8 antibody or targeted deletion of the MFG-E8 gene resulted in a slowing of enterocyte migration along the crypt-villus axis and focal mucosal injury. Moreover, in septic mice, intestinal MFG-E8 expression was downregulated, which correlated with intestinal injury, interrupted enterocyte migration, and impaired restitution. Treatment with recombinant MFG-E8 restored enterocyte migration, whereas deletion of MFG-E8 impeded mucosal healing in mice with sepsis. These results suggest that a decrease in intestinal MFG-E8 impairs intestinal mucosal repair in sepsis. Together, our data indicate that MFG-E8 plays an important role in the maintenance of intestinal epithelial homeostasis and the promotion of mucosal healing and suggest that recombinant MFG-E8 may be beneficial for the treatment of bowel injuries.
Heng-Fu Bu, Xiu-Li Zuo, Xiao Wang, Michael A. Ensslin, Vjola Koti, Wei Hsueh, Adam S. Raymond, Barry D. Shur, Xiao-Di Tan
Endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) and thrombomodulin (TM) are expressed at high levels in the resting microvasculature and convert protein C (PC) into its activated form, which is a potent anticoagulant and antiinflammatory molecule. Here we provide evidence that in Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), the 2 major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), there was loss of expression of endothelial EPCR and TM, which in turns caused impairment of PC activation by the inflamed mucosal microvasculature. In isolated human intestinal endothelial cells, administration of recombinant activated PC had a potent antiinflammatory effect, as demonstrated by downregulated cytokine-dependent cell adhesion molecule expression and chemokine production as well as inhibited leukocyte adhesion. In vivo, administration of activated PC was therapeutically effective in ameliorating experimental colitis as evidenced by reduced weight loss, disease activity index, and histological colitis scores as well as inhibited leukocyte adhesion to the inflamed intestinal vessels. The results suggest that the PC pathway represents a new system crucially involved in governing intestinal homeostasis mediated by the mucosal microvasculature. Restoring the PC pathway may represent a new therapeutic approach to suppress intestinal inflammation in IBD.
Franco Scaldaferri, Miquel Sans, Stefania Vetrano, Cristina Graziani, Raimondo De Cristofaro, Bruce Gerlitz, Alessandro Repici, Vincenzo Arena, Alberto Malesci, Julian Panes, Brian W. Grinnell, Silvio Danese
Enhanced NF-κB activity is involved in the pathology of both forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Here we analyzed the mechanism of proteasome-mediated NF-κB activation in CD and UC. Our studies demonstrate that the subunit composition and the proteolytic function of proteasomes differ between UC and CD. High expression of the immunoproteasome subunits β1i and β2i is characteristic of the inflamed mucosa of CD. In line with this, we found enhanced processing of NF-κB precursor p105 and degradation of inhibitor of NF-κB, IκBα, by immunoproteasomes isolated from the mucosa of CD patients. In comparison with healthy controls and CD patients, UC patients exhibited an intermediate phenotype regarding the proteasome-mediated processing/degradation of NF-κB components. Finally, increased expression of the NF-κB family member c-Rel in the inflamed mucosa of CD patients suggests that p50/c-Rel is important for IFN-γ–mediated induction of immunoproteasomes via IL-12–driven Th1 responses. These findings suggest that distinct proteasome subunits influence the intensity of NF-κB–mediated inflammation in IBD patients.
Alexander Visekruna, Thorsten Joeris, Daniel Seidel, Anjo Kroesen, Christoph Loddenkemper, Martin Zeitz, Stefan H.E. Kaufmann, Ruth Schmidt-Ullrich, Ulrich Steinhoff
Acute T cell–mediated diarrhea is associated with increased mucosal expression of proinflammatory cytokines, including the TNF superfamily members TNF and LIGHT. While we have previously shown that epithelial barrier dysfunction induced by myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) is required for the development of diarrhea, MLCK inhibition does not completely restore water absorption. In contrast, although TNF-neutralizing antibodies completely restore water absorption after systemic T cell activation, barrier function is only partially corrected. This suggests that, while barrier dysfunction is critical, other processes must be involved in T cell–mediated diarrhea. To define these processes in vivo, we asked whether individual cytokines might regulate different events in T cell–mediated diarrhea. Both TNF and LIGHT caused MLCK-dependent barrier dysfunction. However, while TNF caused diarrhea, LIGHT enhanced intestinal water absorption. Moreover, TNF, but not LIGHT, inhibited Na+ absorption due to TNF-induced internalization of the brush border Na+/H+ exchanger NHE3. LIGHT did not cause NHE3 internalization. PKCα activation by TNF was responsible for NHE3 internalization, and pharmacological or genetic PKCα inhibition prevented NHE3 internalization, Na+ malabsorption, and diarrhea despite continued barrier dysfunction. These data demonstrate the necessity of coordinated Na+ malabsorption and barrier dysfunction in TNF-induced diarrhea and provide insight into mechanisms of intestinal water transport.
Daniel R. Clayburgh, Mark W. Musch, Michael Leitges, Yang-Xin Fu, Jerrold R. Turner
Celiac disease is associated with HLA-DQ2 and, to a lesser extent, HLA-DQ8. Type 1 diabetes is associated with the same DQ molecules in the opposite order and with possible involvement of trans-encoded DQ heterodimers. T cells that are reactive with gluten peptides deamidated by transglutaminase 2 and invariably restricted by DQ2 or DQ8 can be isolated from celiac lesions. We used intestinal T cells from celiac patients to map DQ2 and DQ8 epitopes within 2 representative gluten proteins, α-gliadin AJ133612 and γ-gliadin M36999. For α-gliadin, DQ2- and DQ8-restricted T cells recognized deamidated peptides of 2 separate regions. For γ-gliadin, DQ2- and DQ8-restricted T cells recognized deamidated peptides of the same region. Some γ-gliadin peptides were recognized by T cells in the context of DQ2 or DQ8 when bound in exactly the same registers, but with different requirements for deamidation; deamidation at peptide position 4 (P4) was important for DQ2-restricted T cells, whereas deamidation at P1 and/or P9 was important for DQ8-restricted T cells. Peptides combining the DQ2 and DQ8 signatures could be presented by DQ2, DQ8, and trans-encoded DQ heterodimers. Our findings shed light on the basis for the HLA associations in celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.
Stig Tollefsen, Helene Arentz-Hansen, Burkhard Fleckenstein, Øyvind Molberg, Melinda Ráki, William W. Kwok, Günther Jung, Knut E.A. Lundin, Ludvig M. Sollid
The neonatal Fc receptor for IgG (FcRn) plays a major role in regulating host IgG levels and transporting IgG and associated antigens across polarized epithelial barriers. Selective expression of FcRn in the epithelium is shown here to be associated with secretion of IgG into the lumen that allows for defense against an epithelium-associated pathogen (Citrobacter rodentium). This pathway of host resistance to a bacterial pathogen as mediated by FcRn involves retrieval of bacterial antigens from the lumen and initiation of adaptive immune responses in regional lymphoid structures. Epithelial-associated FcRn, through its ability to secrete and absorb IgG, may thus integrate luminal antigen encounters with systemic immune compartments and as such provide essential host defense and immunoregulatory functions at the mucosal surfaces.
Masaru Yoshida, Kanna Kobayashi, Timothy T. Kuo, Lynn Bry, Jonathan N. Glickman, Steven M. Claypool, Arthur Kaser, Takashi Nagaishi, Darren E. Higgins, Emiko Mizoguchi, Yoshio Wakatsuki, Derry C. Roopenian, Atsushi Mizoguchi, Wayne I. Lencer, Richard S. Blumberg