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BACKGROUND: We previously showed that the probiotic mixture, VSL#3, prevents the onset of ileitis in SAMP/YitFc (SAMP) mice, and this effect was associated with stimulation of epithelial-derived TNF. The aim of this study was to determine the mechanism(s) of VSL#3-mediated protection on epithelial barrier function and to further investigate the "paradoxical" effects of TNF in preventing SAMP ileitis. METHODS: Permeability was evaluated in SAMP mice prior to the onset of inflammation and during established disease by measuring transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) on ex vivo-cultured ilea following exposure to VSL#3 conditioned media (CM), TNF or VSL#3-CM + anti-TNF. Tight junction (TJ) proteins were assessed by qRT-PCR, Western blot, and confocal microscopy, and TNFRI/TNFRII expression measured in freshly isolated intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) from SAMP and control AKR mice. RESULTS: Culture with either VSL#3-CM or TNF resulted in decreased ileal paracellular permeability in pre-inflamed SAMP, but not SAMP with established disease, while addition of anti-TNF abrogated these effects. Modulation of the TJ proteins, claudin-2 and occludin, occurred with a significant decrease in claudin-2 and increase in occludin following stimulation with VSL#3-CM or TNF. TNF protein levels increased in supernatants of SAMP ilea incubated with VSL#3-CM compared to vehicle, while IEC-derived TNFR mRNA expression decreased in young, and was elevated in inflamed, SAMP versus AKR mice. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that the previously established efficacy of VSL#3 in preventing SAMP ileitis is due to direct innate and homeostatic effects of TNF on the gut epithelium, modulation of the TJ proteins, claudin-2 and occludin, and overall improvement of intestinal permeability.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0042067

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2012

Volume

7

Keywords

Animals, Bacteria, Gene Expression Regulation, Homeostasis, Ileitis, Intestinal Mucosa, Mice, Permeability, Probiotics, Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Tight Junctions, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha