Background & aims: Intestinal luminal microflora, or their products, are likely an important initiating factor in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. The aim of this study was to determine the role of colonic aerobic luminal bacteria and Lactobacillus species in the development of colitis in interleukin (IL)-10 gene-deficient mice.
Methods: Intestine from 2-16-week-old mice was scored histologically and cultured for bacteria. Lactobacillus sp. repopulation of the colonic lumen was achieved via daily rectal delivery of Lactobacillus reuteri or oral lactulose therapy.
Results: At 2 weeks of age, IL-10 gene-deficient mice showed no colonic injury but did display abnormal colonic bacterial colonization with increased colonic mucosal aerobic adherent and translocated bacteria in conjunction with reduced Lactobacillus sp. levels. In association with the abnormal colonic bacterial colonization, colitis developed by 4 weeks of age. Restoring Lactobacillus sp. to normal levels reduced levels of colonic mucosal adherent and translocated bacteria and attenuated the development of the colitis.
Conclusions: In the neonatal period, IL-10 gene-deficient mice have decreased levels of colonic Lactobacillus sp. and an increase in colonic mucosal adherent and translocated bacteria. Normalizing Lactobacillus sp. levels reduced colonic mucosal adherent and translocated bacteria and prevented colitis.