Role of epithelial integrin-linked kinase in promoting intestinal inflammation: effects on CCL2, fibronectin and the T cell repertoire Assi, Kiran; Patterson, Scott; Dedhar, Shoukat; Owen, David; Levings, Megan; Salh, Baljinder
Background: The role of integrin signaling in mucosal inflammation is presently unknown. Hence, we aimed to investigate the role of epithelial-derived integrin-linked kinase (ILK), a critical integrin signaling intermediary molecule, in colonic inflammation. Methods: Conditional intestinal epithelial cell ILK knockout mice were used for assessment of acute and chronic dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) -induced colitis. Disease activity was scored using standard histological scoring, mucosal cytokines were measured using ELISA, chemokines were determined using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, as well as Q-PCR, and intracellular cytokine staining performed using FACS analysis. Results: In both acute and chronic DSS-induced colitis, compared to wild-type mice, ILK-ko mice exhibit less weight loss, and have reduced inflammatory scores. In an in vitro model system using HCT116 cells, we demonstrate that si-RNA mediated down-regulation of ILK results in a reduction in monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP1, CCL2) chemokine expression. A reduction in CCL2 levels is also observed in the tissue lysates of chronically inflamed colons from ILK-ko mice. Examination of mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes from ILK-ko mice reveals that there is a reduction in the levels of IFN gamma using intracellular staining, together with an increase in Foxp3+ T regulatory cells. Immunohistochemistry demonstrates that reduced fibronectin expression characterizes the inflammatory lesions within the colons of ILK-ko mice. Intriguingly, we demonstrate that fibronectin is directly capable of downregulating T regulatory cell development. Conclusions: Collectively, the data indicate for the first time that ILK plays a pro-inflammatory role in intestinal inflammation, through effects on chemokine expression, the extracellular matrix and immune tolerance.
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