Toll-like receptor mRNA expression is selectively increased in the colonic mucosa of two animal models relevant to irritable bowel syndrome

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McKernan, Declan P.
Nolan, Aoife
Brint, Elizabeth K.
O'Mahony, Siobhain M.
Hyland, Niall P.
Cryan, John F.
Dinan, Timothy G.
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Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is largely viewed as a stress-related disorder caused by aberrant brain-gut– immune communication and altered gastrointestinal (GI) homeostasis. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that stress modulates innate immune responses; however, very little is known on the immunological effects of stress on the GI tract. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are critical pattern recognition molecules of the innate immune system. Activation of TLRs by bacterial and viral molecules leads to activation of NF-kB and an increase in inflammatory cytokine expression. It was our hypothesis that innate immune receptor expression may be changed in the gastrointestinal tract of animals with stressinduced IBS-like symptoms. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study, our objective was to evaluate the TLR expression profile in the colonic mucosa of two rat strains that display colonic visceral hypersensivity; the stress-sensitive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat and the maternally separated (MS) rat. Quantitative PCR of TLR2-10 mRNA in both the proximal and distal colonic mucosae was carried out in adulthood. Significant increases are seen in the mRNA levels of TLR3, 4 & 5 in both the distal and proximal colonic mucosa of MS rats compared with controls. No significant differences were noted for TLR 2, 7, 9 & 10 while TLR 6 could not be detected in any samples in both rat strains. The WKY strain have increased levels of mRNA expression of TLR3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 & 10 in both the distal and proximal colonic mucosa compared to the control Sprague-Dawley strain. No significant differences in expression were found for TLR2 while as before TLR6 could not be detected in all samples in both strains. Conclusions: These data suggest that both early life stress (MS) and a genetic predisposition (WKY) to stress affect the expression of key sentinels of the innate immune system which may have direct relevance for the molecular pathophysiology of IBS.
Toll-like receptors , Irritable bowel syndrome , Immunologic receptors
McKernan DP, Nolan A, Brint EK, O’Mahony SM, Hyland NP, et al. (2009) Toll-Like Receptor mRNA Expression Is Selectively Increased in the Colonic Mucosa of Two Animal Models Relevant to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE 4(12): e8226. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008226