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Altered innate defenses in the neonatal gastrointestinal tract in response to colonization by neuropathogenic Escherichia coli.

Journal article
Authors George M. H. Birchenough
Malin E V Johansson
Richard A Stabler
Fatma Dalgakiran
Gunnar C. Hansson
Brendan W Wren
J Paul Luzio
Peter W Taylor
Published in Infection and immunity
Volume 81
Issue 9
Pages 3264-75
ISSN 1098-5522
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 3264-75
Language en
Subject categories Basic Medicine


Two-day-old (P2), but not 9-day-old (P9), rat pups are susceptible to systemic infection following gastrointestinal colonization by Escherichia coli K1. Age dependency reflects the capacity of colonizing K1 to translocate from gastrointestinal (GI) tract to blood. A complex GI microbiota developed by P2, showed little variation over P2 to P9, and did not prevent stable K1 colonization. Substantial developmental expression was observed over P2 to P9, including upregulation of genes encoding components of the small intestinal (α-defensins Defa24 and Defa-rs1) and colonic (trefoil factor Tff2) mucus barrier. K1 colonization modulated expression of these peptides: developmental expression of Tff2 was dysregulated in P2 tissues and was accompanied by a decrease in mucin Muc2. Conversely, α-defensin genes were upregulated in P9 tissues. We propose that incomplete development of the mucus barrier during early neonatal life and the capacity of colonizing K1 to interfere with mucus barrier maturation provide opportunities for neuropathogen translocation into the bloodstream.

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