International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2021-02-01)

Immune-Mediated Aggravation of the <i>Campylobacter concisus</i>-Induced Epithelial Barrier Dysfunction

  • Praveen Kumar Nattramilarasu,
  • Fábia Daniela Lobo de Sá,
  • Jörg-Dieter Schulzke,
  • Roland Bücker

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 2043
p. 2043


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Campylobacter concisus is a human-pathogenic bacterium of the gastrointestinal tract. This study aimed at the contribution of the mucosal immune system in the context of intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction induced by C. concisus. As an experimental leaky gut model, we used in vitro co-cultures of colonic epithelial cell monolayers (HT-29/B6-GR/MR) with M1-macrophage-like THP-1 cells on the basal side. Forty-eight hours after C. concisus infection, the decrease in the transepithelial electrical resistance in cell monolayers was more pronounced in co-culture condition and 22 ± 2% (p C. concisus-infected cell monolayers only in co-culture conditions. This is explained by loss of tricellulin from tricellular tight junctions (tTJs) after C. concisus infection. As an underlying mechanism, we observed an inflammatory response after C. concisus infection through pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) released from THP-1 cells in the co-culture condition. In conclusion, the activation of subepithelial immune cells exacerbates colonic epithelial barrier dysfunction by C. concisus through tricellulin disruption in tTJs, leading to increased antigen permeability (leaky gut concept).