Microbial Contributions to Gut Development in the Neonatal Pig

by Willing, Benjamin Peter

Abstract (Summary)
The commensal intestinal microbiota contributes substantially to intestinal development in the early neonatal period by mechanisms that are not yet elucidated but could contribute to novel strategies to improve intestinal health. A series of gnotobiotic experiments using isolator-reared caesarian section-derived piglets inoculated at 1 d of age with selected bacteria and euthanized at 14 or 15 days of age were performed to investigate intestinal morphology, inflammation and digestive function. In Experiment 1, piglets were maintained germfree (GF), mono-associated with Escherichia coli (EC), mono-associated with Lactobacillus fermentum (LF) or conventionalized with sow feces (CV). Increased (P<0.05) gene expression of Fas ligand (FasL) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF?) in EC and CV as compared to LF and GF pigs coincided with increased apoptotic and proliferative activity. Toll-like receptors (TLR) 2, 4 and 9 were differentially regulated (P<0.05) by colonizing species. In Experiment 2 using the same animals as Exp. 1, increased turnover of brush border enzymes was indicated by reduced (P<0.05) specific activity of aminopeptidase N (APN) and lactase (LPH) and increased expression of APN in CV and EC as compared to GF and LF pigs. Reduced enzyme activity to gene expression ratio corresponded with an in vitro assay of microbial inactivation of APN. In Experiment 3, probiotic Lactobacillus sp., L3777, and Bifidobacteria sp., B5445, did not induce expression of inflammatory cytokines in mono-association but di-association with E. coli increased (P<0.05) inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators and resulted in a high rate of sepsis (50%) relative to E. coli mono-association. Induced expression of inflammatory cytokines by commensal bacteria through TLR and other means, appear to play a substantial role in microbially-induced enterocyte turnover. Enterocyte immaturity did not account for reduced enzyme activity associated with inflammation as increased expression of APN in response to microbial colonization was observed, suggesting a host response pathway enabling effective competition with the intestinal microbiota for available peptide nutrients. Probiotic bacteria were relatively benign in mono-association but may have facilitated increased translocation of E. coli in di-association. Gnotobiotic animal models are essential to demonstrate outcomes of host response characterized by communication among numerous cell types, although are of significant technical difficulty.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Ruurd Zijlstra; Bernard Laarveld; Andrew Van Kessel; Elemir Simko; Fiona Buchanan

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:host microbial interaction commensal bacteria gnotobiotic pig


Date of Publication:08/30/2007

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