Human intestinal epithelial cells in innate immunity interactions with normal microbiota and pathogenic bacteria
Abstract: Rod-shaped bacteria were previously shown to be associated with the small intestinal epithelium of children with celiac disease (CD). Using culture-dependent and independent methods, we characterized the microbiota of small intestine in children with CD and controls. The normal microbiota constitutes an unique organ-specific biofilm. Dominant bacteria are Streptococcus, Neisseria, Veillonella, Gemella, Actinomyces, Rothia and Haemophilus. Altogether 162 Genus Level Operational Taxonomic Units (GELOTU) of six different phyla were identified in a total of 63 children. In biopsies collected during 2004- 2007 we did not find major differences in the microbiota between CD patients and controls. However, in biopsies collected earlier from children born during the “Swedish CD epidemic” and demonstrated to have rod-shaped bacteria by electron microscopy, we found that unclassified-Clostridales and Prevotella species were associated with CD. These anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria showed marked affinity for the intestinal epithelium. Changes in breast-feeding practice and/or regiments for introduction of gluten containing food probably affect the composition of the bacterial flora in small intestine. We hypotesize that these bacteria contribute to contraction of CD.An in vitro model for studies of immune mechanisms of the intestinal epithelium was established. Polarized tight monolayers of the human colon carcinoma cell lines, T84 and Caco2, were developed by culture in a two-chamber system. The two cell lines showed the features of mature- and immature columnar epithelial cells respectively. Polarized monolayers were challenged with bacteria and proinflammatory cytokines. Immune responses were estimated as quantitative changes in mRNA expression levels of a secreted mucin (MUC2), glycocalyx components (CEACAMs, MUC3), antimicrobial factors and cytokines (IFN-g, TNF-a, IL-6 and IL-8). Tight monolayer cells were more resistant to bacterial attack than ordinary tissue culture cells and only B. megaterium induced the defensin, hBD2. Tight monolayer cells responded to cytokine challenge suggesting awareness of basolateral attack. TNF-a induced markedly increased levels of IL-8 and TNF- a itself in both cell lines suggesting recruitment and activation of immune cells. Cytokine challenge also increased levels of CEACAM1, which includes two functionally different forms, CEACAM1-L and CEACAM1-S. In T84 cells, IFN-g was selective for CEACAM1- L while TNF-a upregulated both forms. Increased CEACAM1 expression may influence epithelial function and communication between epithelial cells and intraepithelial lymphocytes.As a pathogenic enteric bacterium, Vibrio cholerae secretes cholera toxin that is the major factor of cholera diarrhea. However, some strains of O1 serogroup lacking the cholera toxin still cause enterocolitis and most V. cholerae vaccines candidates exhibit reactogenicity in clinical trails. An extracellular metalloprotease PrtV was characterized. It was associated with killing of bacteria predators such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Its role in human intestine was addressed by using the T84 tight monolayer in vitro model. We found that Vibrio Cholera Cytolysin (VCC), a pore-forming toxin, induces an inflammatory response in intestinal epithelial cells that includes increased epithelial permeability and induction of IL-8 and TNF-a and hence could be responsible for enterocolitis. The inflammatory response was abolished by PrtV thus VCC is indeed an autologous substrate for PrtV. In protein rich environment PrtV degradation of VCC was inhibited, suggesting that the magnitude of the inflammatory response is modulated by the milieu in the small intestine. Thus, VCC is likely to be part of the pathogenesis of cholera diarrhea and the causative agent of enteropathy in V. cholerae strains lacking the cholera toxin.
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