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Fetal exposure to chorioamnionitis can impact the outcomes of the developing fetus both at the time of birth and in the subsequent neonatal period. Infants exposed to chorioamnionitis have a higher incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) pathology, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC); however, the mechanism remains undefined. To simulate the fetal exposure to maternal inflammation (FEMI) induced by chorioamnionitis, pregnant mice (C57BL/6J, , or ) were injected intraperitoneally on embryonic day (E)15.5 with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 100 µg/kg body weight). Pups were delivered at term, and reared to postnatal day (P)0, P7, P14, P28 or P56. Serum and intestinal tissue samples were collected to quantify growth, inflammatory markers, histological intestinal injury, and goblet and Paneth cells. To determine whether FEMI increased subsequent susceptibility to intestinal injury, a secondary dose of LPS (100 µg/kg body weight) was given on P5, prior to tissue harvesting on P7. FEMI had no effect on growth of the offspring or their small intestine. FEMI significantly decreased both goblet and Paneth cell numbers while simultaneously increasing serum levels of IL-1β, IL-10, KC/GRO (CXCL1 and CXCL2), TNF and IL-6. These alterations were IL-6 dependent and, importantly, increased susceptibility to LPS-induced intestinal injury later in life. Our data show that FEMI impairs normal intestinal development by decreasing components of innate immunity and simultaneously increasing markers of inflammation. These changes increase susceptibility to intestinal injury later in life and provide novel mechanistic data to potentially explain why preterm infants exposed to chorioamnionitis prior to birth have a higher incidence of NEC and other GI disorders.
© 2019. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Paneth cells (PCs), a secretory population located at the base of the intestinal crypt, support the intestinal stem cells (ISC) with growth factors and participate in innate immunity by releasing antimicrobial peptides, including lysozyme and defensins. PC dysfunction is associated with disorders such as Crohn's disease and necrotizing enterocolitis, but the specific pathways regulating PC development and function are not fully understood. Here we tested the role of the neuregulin receptor ErbB3 in control of PC differentiation and the ISC niche. Intestinal epithelial ErbB3 knockout caused precocious appearance of PCs as early as postnatal day 7, and substantially increased the number of mature PCs in adult mouse ileum. ErbB3 loss had no effect on other secretory lineages, but increased expression of the ISC marker Lgr5. ErbB3-null intestines had elevated levels of the Atoh1 transcription factor, which is required for secretory fate determination, while Atoh1 cells had reduced ErbB3, suggesting reciprocal negative regulation. ErbB3-null intestinal progenitor cells showed reduced activation of the PI3K-Akt and ERK MAPK pathways. Inhibiting these pathways in HT29 cells increased levels of ATOH1 and the PC marker LYZ. Conversely, ErbB3 activation suppressed LYZ and ATOH1 in a PI3K-dependent manner. Expansion of the PC compartment in ErbB3-null intestines was accompanied with elevated ER stress and inflammation markers, raising the possibility that negative regulation of PCs by ErbB3 is necessary to maintain homeostasis. Taken together, our data suggest that ErbB3 restricts PC numbers through PI3K-mediated suppression of Atoh1 levels leading to inhibition of PC differentiation, with important implications for regulation of the ISC niche.
Infants with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) are at increased risk for neonatal and lifelong morbidities affecting multiple organ systems including the intestinal tract. The underlying mechanisms for the risk to the intestine remain poorly understood. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that IUGR affects the development of goblet and Paneth cell lineages, thus compromising the innate immunity and barrier functions of the epithelium. Using a mouse model of maternal thromboxane A2-analog infusion to elicit maternal hypertension and resultant IUGR, we tested whether IUGR alters ileal maturation and specifically disrupts mucus-producing goblet and antimicrobial-secreting Paneth cell development. We measured body weights, ileal weights and ileal lengths from birth to postnatal day (P) 56. We also determined the abundance of goblet and Paneth cells and their mRNA products, localization of cellular tight junctions, cell proliferation, and apoptosis to interrogate cellular homeostasis. Comparison of the murine findings with human IUGR ileum allowed us to verify observed changes in the mouse were relevant to clinical IUGR. At P14 IUGR mice had decreased ileal lengths, fewer goblet and Paneth cells, reductions in Paneth cell specific mRNAs, and decreased cell proliferation. These findings positively correlated with severity of IUGR. Furthermore, the decrease in murine Paneth cells was also seen in human IUGR ileum. IUGR disrupts the normal trajectory of ileal development, particularly affecting the composition and secretory products of the epithelial surface of the intestine. We speculate that this abnormal intestinal development may constitute an inherent "first hit", rendering IUGR intestine susceptible to further injury, infection, or inflammation.
Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) drive small intestinal epithelial homeostasis and regeneration. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates stem and progenitor cell metabolism and is frequently dysregulated in human disease, but its physiologic functions in the mammalian small intestinal epithelium remain poorly defined. We disrupted the genes mTOR, Rptor, Rictor, or both Rptor and Rictor in mouse ISCs, progenitors, and differentiated intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) using Villin-Cre. Mutant tissues and wild-type or heterozygous littermate controls were analyzed by histologic immunostaining, immunoblots, and proliferation assays. A total of 10 Gy irradiation was used to injure the intestinal epithelium and induce subsequent crypt regeneration. We report that mTOR supports absorptive enterocytes and secretory Paneth and goblet cell function while negatively regulating chromogranin A-positive enteroendocrine cell number. Through additional Rptor, Rictor, and Rptor/Rictor mutant mouse models, we identify mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 as the major IEC regulatory pathway, but mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 also contributes to ileal villus maintenance and goblet cell size. Homeostatic adult small intestinal crypt cell proliferation, survival, and canonical wingless-int (WNT) activity are not mTOR dependent, but Olfm4(+) ISC/progenitor population maintenance and crypt regeneration postinjury require mTOR. Overall, we conclude that mTOR regulates multiple IEC lineages and promotes stem and progenitor cell activity during intestinal epithelium repair postinjury.
INTRODUCTION - Parenteral nutrition (PN) increases the risk of infection in critically ill patients and is associated with defects in gastrointestinal innate immunity. Goblet cells produce mucosal defense compounds, including mucin (principally MUC2), trefoil factor 3 (TFF3), and resistin-like molecule β (RELMβ). Bombesin (BBS), a gastrin-releasing peptide analogue, experimentally reverses PN-induced defects in Paneth cell innate immunity. We hypothesized that PN reduces goblet cell product expression and PN+BBS would reverse these PN-induced defects.
METHODS - Two days after intravenous cannulation, male Institute of Cancer Research mice were randomized to chow (n = 15), PN (n = 13), or PN+BBS (15 µg tid) (n = 12) diets for 5 days. Defined segments of ileum and luminal fluid were analyzed for MUC2, TFF3, and RELMβ by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blot. Th2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
RESULTS - Compared with chow, PN significantly reduced MUC2 in ileum (P < .01) and luminal fluid (P = .01). BBS supplementation did not improve ileal or luminal MUC2 compared with PN (P > .3). Compared with chow, PN significantly reduced TFF3 in ileum (P < .02) and luminal fluid (P < .01). BBS addition did not improve ileal or luminal TFF3 compared with PN (P > .3). Compared with chow, PN significantly reduced ileal RELMβ (P < .01). BBS supplementation significantly increased ileal RELMβ to levels similar to chow (P < .03 vs PN; P > .6 vs chow). Th2 cytokines were decreased with PN and returned to chow levels with BBS.
CONCLUSION - PN significantly impairs the goblet cell component of innate mucosal immunity. BBS only preserves goblet cell RELMβ during PN but not other goblet cell products measured.
© 2015 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.
Notch signaling largely determines intestinal epithelial cell fate. High Notch activity drives progenitors toward absorptive enterocytes by repressing secretory differentiation programs, whereas low Notch permits secretory cell assignment. Myeloid translocation gene-related 1 (MTGR1) is a transcriptional corepressor in the myeloid translocation gene/Eight-Twenty-One family. Given that Mtgr1(-/-) mice have a dramatic reduction of intestinal epithelial secretory cells, we hypothesized that MTGR1 is a key repressor of Notch signaling. In support of this, transcriptome analysis of laser capture microdissected Mtgr1(-/-) intestinal crypts revealed Notch activation, and secretory markers Mucin2, Chromogranin A, and Growth factor-independent 1 (Gfi1) were down-regulated in Mtgr1(-/-) whole intestines and Mtgr1(-/-) enteroids. We demonstrate that MTGR1 is in a complex with Suppressor of Hairless Homolog, a key Notch effector, and represses Notch-induced Hairy/Enhancer of Split 1 activity. Moreover, pharmacologic Notch inhibition using a γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) rescued the hyperproliferative baseline phenotype in the Mtgr1(-/-) intestine and increased production of goblet and enteroendocrine lineages in Mtgr1(-/-) mice. GSI increased Paneth cell production in wild-type mice but failed to do so in Mtgr1(-/-) mice. We determined that MTGR1 can interact with GFI1, a transcriptional corepressor required for Paneth cell differentiation, and repress GFI1 targets. Overall, the data suggest that MTGR1, a transcriptional corepressor well characterized in hematopoiesis, plays a critical role in intestinal lineage allocation.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in premature infants. During NEC pathogenesis, bacteria are able to penetrate innate immune defenses and invade the intestinal epithelial layer, causing subsequent inflammation and tissue necrosis. Normally, Paneth cells appear in the intestinal crypts during the first trimester of human pregnancy. Paneth cells constitute a major component of the innate immune system by producing multiple antimicrobial peptides and proinflammatory mediators. To better understand the possible role of Paneth cell disruption in NEC, we quantified the number of Paneth cells present in infants with NEC and found that they were significantly decreased compared with age-matched controls. We were able to model this loss in the intestine of postnatal day (P)14-P16 (immature) mice by treating them with the zinc chelator dithizone. Intestines from dithizone-treated animals retained approximately half the number of Paneth cells compared with controls. Furthermore, by combining dithizone treatment with exposure to Klebsiella pneumoniae, we were able to induce intestinal injury and inflammatory induction that resembles human NEC. Additionally, this novel Paneth cell ablation model produces NEC-like pathology that is consistent with other currently used animal models, but this technique is simpler to use, can be used in older animals that have been dam fed, and represents a novel line of investigation to study NEC pathogenesis and treatment.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in premature infants. NEC is believed to occur when intestinal bacteria invade the intestinal epithelial layer, causing subsequent inflammation and tissue necrosis. Mucins are produced and secreted by epithelial goblet cells as a key component of the innate immune system and barrier function of the intestinal tract that help protect against bacterial invasion. To better understand the role of mucins in NEC, we quantified the number of mucus-containing small intestinal goblet cells present in infants with NEC and found they had significantly fewer goblet cells and Paneth cells compared with controls. To test whether inflammation has a developmentally dependent effect on intestinal goblet cells, TNF-α was injected into mice at various stages of intestinal development. TNF-α caused a loss of mucus-containing goblet cells only in immature mice and induced Muc2 and Muc3 mRNA upregulation only in mature ileum. Only minimal changes were seen in apoptosis and in expression of markers of goblet cell differentiation. TNF-α increased small intestinal mucus secretion and goblet cell hypersensitivity to prostaglandin E2 (PGE(2)), a known mucus secretagogue produced by macrophages. These TNF-α-induced changes in mucus mRNA levels required TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2), whereas TNF-α-induced loss of mucus-positive goblet cells required TNFR1. Our findings of developmentally dependent TNF-α-induced alterations on intestinal mucus may help explain why NEC is predominantly found in premature infants, and TNF-α-induced alterations of the intestinal innate immune system and barrier functions may play a role in the pathogenesis of NEC itself.
Two members of the MTG/ETO family of transcriptional corepressors, MTG8 and MTG16, are disrupted by chromosomal translocations in up to 15% of acute myeloid leukemia cases. The third family member, MTGR1, was identified as a factor that associates with the t(8;21) fusion protein RUNX1-MTG8. We demonstrate that Mtgr1 associates with mSin3A, N-CoR, and histone deacetylase 3 and that when tethered to DNA, Mtgr1 represses transcription, suggesting that Mtgr1 also acts as a transcriptional corepressor. To define the biological function of Mtgr1, we created Mtgr1-null mice. These mice are proportionally smaller than their littermates during embryogenesis and throughout their life span but otherwise develop normally. However, these mice display a progressive reduction in the secretory epithelial cell lineage in the small intestine. This is not due to the loss of small intestinal progenitor cells expressing Gfi1, which is required for the formation of goblet and Paneth cells, implying that loss of Mtgr1 impairs the maturation of secretory cells in the small intestine.
Precursors of alpha-defensin peptides require activation for bactericidal activity. In mouse small intestine, matrilysin colocalized with alpha-defensins (cryptdins) in Paneth cell granules, and in vitro it cleaved the pro segment from cryptdin precursors. Matrilysin-deficient (MAT-/-) mice lacked mature cryptdins and accumulated precursor molecules. Intestinal peptide preparations from MAT-/- mice had decreased antimicrobial activity. Orally administered bacteria survived in greater numbers and were more virulent in MAT-/- mice than in MAT+/+ mice. Thus, matrilysin functions in intestinal mucosal defense by regulating the activity of defensins, which may be a common role for this metalloproteinase in its numerous epithelial sites of expression.