, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 217-227
Date: 12 Oct 2013

Disturbance of intraepithelial lymphocytes in a murine model of acute intestinal ischemia/reperfusion

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Strategically located at the epithelial basolateral surface, intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) are intimately associated with epithelial cells and maintain the epithelial barrier integrity. Intestinal ischemia–reperfusion (I/R)-induced acute injury not only damages the epithelium but also affects the mucosal barrier function. Therefore, we hypothesized that I/R-induced mucosal damage would affect IEL phenotype and function. Adult C57BL/6J mice were treated with intestinal I/R or sham. Mice were euthanized at 6 h after I/R, and the small bowel was harvested for histological examination and to calculate the transmembrane resistance. Occludin expression and IEL location were detected through immunohistochemistry. The IEL phenotype, activation, and apoptosis were examined using flow cytometry. Cytokine and anti-apoptosis-associated gene expressions were measured through RT-PCR. Intestinal I/R induced the destruction of epithelial cells and intercellular molecules (occludin), resulting in IEL detachment from the epithelium. I/R also significantly increased the CD8αβ, CD4, and TCRαβ IEL subpopulations and significantly changed IEL-derived cytokine expression. Furthermore, I/R enhanced activation and promoted apoptosis in IELs. I/R-induced acute intestinal mucosal damage significantly affected IEL phenotype and function. These findings provide profound insight into potential IEL-mediated epithelial barrier dysfunction after intestinal I/R.