Ion Transport Basis of Diarrhea in a Mouse Model of Adoptive T Cell Transfer Colitis

  • Dulari Jayawardena
  • Sangeeta Tyagi
  • Ali Nazmi
  • Danyvid Olivares-Villagómez
  • Pradeep K. DudejaEmail author
Original Article



Diarrhea, a major pathological hallmark of inflammatory bowel disease, is characterized by a significant reduction in the expression and function of key intestinal ion transporters. The adoptive naïve CD4+ T cell transfer colitis is an immune-based, chronic colitis mouse model which resembles human Crohn’s disease. Although mice with T cell transfer colitis demonstrate diarrhea, the ion transporter basis of this phenotype has not been explored.


In the current studies, we aimed to determine the mRNA and protein levels of the key NaCl transporters DRA and NHE3 along with the mRNA expression of other transporters in the inflamed intestine.


Naïve CD4+ T cells, transferred to Rag2 knockout mice, induced severe colonic inflammation characterized by histological damage and increased mRNA levels of cytokines in the colon with no effect in the ileum. Diarrheal phenotype was a key feature of the excised colons of mice where loose stools were evident. Our results demonstrated that the key chloride transporter DRA, mRNA, and protein levels were significantly reduced in the inflamed colon. However, expression of the key sodium hydrogen exchanger NHE3 was unaffected. The mRNA expression of other important transporters was also determined; in this regard, the sodium channel ENACα and the monocarboxylate transporters MCT1 and SMCT1 mRNA levels were also significantly lower compared to control mice. However, CFTR mRNA was not altered in the colon or ileum.


The studies conducted herein for the first time demonstrate the downregulation of important intestinal ion transporters in proximal and distal colon in T cell transfer colitis mouse model, providing valuable evidence for the ion transporter basis of diarrhea in this chronic model of inflammation.


Ion transporters T-cell transfer colitis Diarrhea DRA Inflammatory bowel disease 



Funding was provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (Grant Nos. DK92441-01, DK54016-14 to PKD and DK111671 to DO-V), the US Department of Veterans Affairs (Grant Nos. BX002011-VA and VA Sr. Research Career Scientist Award to PKD), and the American Association of Immunologists (Grant Nos. Careers in Immunology Fellowship Program and Careers in Immunology Fellowship to DO-V and AN).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of MedicineUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Microbiology and ImmunologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and InflammationVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Jesse Brown VA Medical CenterChicagoUSA

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