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Toll-like receptor-4 in human and mouse colonic epithelium is developmentally regulated: a possible role in necrotizing enterocolitis

Meng, D;Zhu, W;Shi, HN;Lu, L;Wijendran, V;Xu, W;Walker, WA;

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an immature intestinal condition resulting in devastating intestinal inflammation due to unknown mechanisms. Evidence has suggested that intestinal maturation attenuates the severity of NEC and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) has been suggested to play a critical role in its pathogenesis. We investigated whether maturational effects of TLR4 expression in immature colon might contribute to the development of NEC.,TLR4 colonocyte expression was detected by immunofluorescence confocal microscopy. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels were assayed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).,TLR4 expression was high in fetal colonic epithelium in human and mouse, with earlier gestation having a higher surface/cytoplasm distribution. TLR4 remained high in mouse postnatal day 1 but the surface/cytoplasm distribution was reduced. TLR4 decreased in amount and then was expressed in crypts in the mature human and mouse colon. Hydrocortisone (HC) reduced the surface/cytoplasm distribution of TLR4 in human fetal colon. Elevated IL-6 levels in immature colon after lipopolysaccharide were attenuated by HC in human and mouse.,Expression, localization, and signaling of TLR4 in colonic epithelium may be developmentally regulated. HC may accelerate the TLR developmental pathway change to an adult type, which may account for its impact on TLR4 signaling.