Published online Dec 14, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.5843
Revised: October 29, 2009
Accepted: November 5, 2009
Published online: December 14, 2009
AIM: To investigate the dysfunction of the immunological barrier of the intestinal mucosa during endotoxemia and to elucidate the potential mechanism of this dysfunction.
METHODS: Male Wistar rats were randomly distributed into two groups: control group and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) group. Endotoxemia was induced by a single caudal venous injection of LPS. Animals were sacrificed in batches 2, 6, 12 and 24 h after LPS infusion. The number of microfold (M)-cells, dendritic cells (DCs), CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, regulatory T (Tr) cells and IgA+ B cells in the intestinal mucosa were counted after immunohistochemical staining. Apoptotic lymphocytes were counted after TUNEL staining. The levels of interleukin (IL)-4, interferon (IFN)-γ and forkhead box P3 (Foxp3) in mucosal homogenates were measured by ELISA. The secretory IgA (sIgA) content in the total protein of one milligram of small intestinal mucus was detected using a radioimmunological assay.
RESULTS: This research demonstrated that LPS-induced endotoxemia results in small intestinal mucosa injury. The number of M-cells, DCs, CD8+ T cells, and IgA+ B cells were decreased while Tr cell and apoptotic lymphocyte numbers were increased significantly. The number of CD4+ T cells increased in the early stages and then slightly decreased by 24 h. The level of IL-4 significantly increased in the early stages and then reversed by the end of the study period. The level of IFN-γ increased slightly in the early stages and then decreased markedly by the 24 h time point. Level of Foxp3 increased whereas sIgA level decreased.
CONCLUSION: Mucosal immune dysfunction forms part of the intestinal barrier injury during endotoxemia. The increased number and function of Tr cells as well as lymphocyte apoptosis result in mucosal immunodeficiency.