Establishment of tolerance to commensal bacteria requires a complex microbiota and is accompanied by decreased intestinal chemokine expression

Lisbeth Nielsen Fink, S. B. Metzdorff, Louise Zeuthen, Christine Lydia Nellemann, Matilde Bylov Kristensen, Tine Rask Licht, H. Frøkiær

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Intricate regulation of tolerance to the intestinal commensal microbiota acquired at birth is critical. We hypothesized that epithelial cell tolerance toward early gram-positive and gram-negative colonizing bacteria is established immediately after birth, as has previously been shown for endotoxin. Gene expression in the intestine of mouse pups born to dams that were either colonized with a conventional microbiota or monocolonized (Lactobacillus acidophilus or Eschericia coli) or germ free was examined on day 1 and day 6 after birth. Intestinal epithelial cells from all groups of pups were stimulated ex vivo with L. acidophilus and E. coli to assess tolerance establishment. Intestine from pups exposed to a conventional microbiota displayed lower expression of Ccl2, Ccl3, Cxcl1, Cxcl2, and Tslp than germ-free mice, whereas genes encoding proteins in Toll-like receptor signaling pathways and cytokines were upregulated. When comparing pups on day 1 and day 6 after birth, a specific change in gene expression pattern was evident in all groups of mice. Tolerance to ex vivo stimulation with E. coli was only established in conventional animals. Colonization of the intestine was reflected in the spleen displaying downregulation of Cxcl2 compared with germ-free animals on day 1 after birth. Colonization reduced the expression of genes involved in antigen presentation in the intestine-draining mesenteric lymph nodes, but not in the popliteal lymph nodes, as evidenced by gene expression on day 23 after birth. We propose that microbial detection systems in the intestine are upregulated by colonization with a diverse microbiota, whereas expression of proinflammatory chemokines is reduced to avoid excess recruitment of immune cells to the maturing intestine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)G55-G65
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Establishment of tolerance to commensal bacteria requires a complex microbiota and is accompanied by decreased intestinal chemokine expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this