Microcirculation, Mucus and Microbiota in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Sammanfattning: Inflammatory bowel diseases, (IBD), are a group of chronic disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract, and include Crohn’s disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). The pathogenesis is not known, but involves at least in part a loss of tolerance towards the commensal colonic microbiota. In this thesis, we show in animal models of CD and UC that the colonic mucosal blood flow increased compared to healthy animals. This blood flow increase is due to an up regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Further, we show in the UC model that the thickness of the firmly adherent colonic mucus layer increased compared to healthy animals. This increase is due to an up regulation of inducible NOS in the epithelium. Both the blood flow and mucus thickness increase appear to be protective mechanisms. We demonstrate that the firmly adherent colonic mucus layer acts as a partial barrier towards luminal bacteria. In the UC model, this barrier is destroyed, causing increased bacterial translocation. The adhesion molecule P-selectin was up regulated in the UC model, leading to increased interactions between leukocytes and the endothelium, but also increased interactions between platelets and the endothelium. This indicates that not only leukocytes, but also platelets are involved in colonic inflammation. The addition of the probiotic bacterial strain Lactobacillus reuteri prevented disease by normalizing P-selectin levels and endothelial interactions with leukocytes and platelets. Lactobacillus reuteri also decreased bacterial translocation over the epithelium. In summary, this thesis highlights the importance of colonic barrier functions, and investigates the role of the microbiota in experimental IBD.
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