Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Changes in colon gene expression associated with increased colon inflammation in interleukin-10 gene-deficient mice inoculated with Enterococcus species

Matthew PG Barnett1*, Warren C McNabb23, Adrian L Cookson1, Shuotun Zhu4, Marcus Davy5, Bianca Knoch16, Katia Nones7, Alison J Hodgkinson8 and Nicole C Roy1

Author Affiliations

1 Food, Metabolism & Microbiology Section, AgResearch Grasslands, Tennent Drive, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

2 Food & Textiles Group, AgResearch Grasslands, Tennent Drive, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

3 Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North, NZ

4 Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, 85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland 1023, New Zealand

5 Plant & Food Research, Ruakura Research Centre, East Street, Hamilton 3214, New Zealand

6 Institute of Food, Nutrition & Human Health, Massey University, Tennent Drive, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

7 Plant & Food Research, Batchelar Road, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

8 Dairy Science & Technology, AgResearch Ruakura, East Street, Hamilton 3214, New Zealand

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BMC Immunology 2010, 11:39  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-11-39

Published: 15 July 2010

Abstract

Background

Inappropriate responses to normal intestinal bacteria may be involved in the development of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD, e.g. Crohn's Disease (CD), Ulcerative Colitis (UC)) and variations in the host genome may mediate this process. IL-10 gene-deficient (Il10-/-) mice develop CD-like colitis mainly in the colon, in part due to inappropriate responses to normal intestinal bacteria including Enterococcus strains, and have therefore been used as an animal model of CD. Comprehensive characterization of changes in cecum gene expression levels associated with inflammation in the Il10-/- mouse model has recently been reported. Our aim was to characterize changes in colonic gene expression levels in Il10-/- and C57BL/6J (C57; control) mice resulting from oral bacterial inoculation with 12 Enterococcus faecalis and faecium (EF) strains isolated from calves or poultry, complex intestinal flora (CIF) collected from healthy control mice, or a mixture of the two (EF·CIF). We investigated two hypotheses: (1) that oral inoculation of Il10-/- mice would result in greater and more consistent intestinal inflammation than that observed in Il10-/- mice not receiving this inoculation, and (2) that this inflammation would be associated with changes in colon gene expression levels similar to those previously observed in human studies, and these mice would therefore be an appropriate model for human CD.

Results

At 12 weeks of age, total RNA extracted from intact colon was hybridized to Agilent 44 k mouse arrays. Differentially expressed genes were identified using linear models for microarray analysis (Bioconductor), and these genes were clustered using GeneSpring GX and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis software. Intestinal inflammation was increased in Il10-/- mice as a result of inoculation, with the strongest effect being in the EF and EF·CIF groups. Genes differentially expressed in Il10-/- mice as a result of EF or EF·CIF inoculation were associated with the following pathways: inflammatory disease (111 genes differentially expressed), immune response (209 genes), antigen presentation (11 genes, particularly major histocompatability complex Class II), fatty acid metabolism (30 genes) and detoxification (31 genes).

Conclusions

Our results suggest that colonic inflammation in Il10-/- mice inoculated with solutions containing Enterococcus strains is associated with gene expression changes similar to those of human IBD, specifically CD, and that with the EF·CIF inoculum in particular this is an appropriate model to investigate food-gene interactions relevant to human CD.