Background & aims: Recently, a number of animal models for different aspects of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have been developed. The aim of this study was to use one of these to determine whether particular, ostensibly innocuous, intestinal bacteria could provoke or exacerbate IBD.
Methods: Conventionally reared C.B17 SCID mice were compared with germ-free and gnotobiotic mice, monoassociated with 1 of 5 intestinal bacteria, after transfer of CD45RB(high) CD4(+) T cells from conventionally reared congenic BALB/c mice. Recipient mice were monitored over 7-12 weeks for clinical signs of IBD, and tissues were analyzed by histology/flow cytometry for abnormal inflammation and CD4(+) T cell outgrowth.
Results: Neither germ-free mice nor mice monoassociated with segmented filamentous bacteria, Ochrobactrum anthropi, a nonpathogenic mutant of Listeria monocytogenes, or Morganella morganii developed any signs of IBD. In contrast, mice monoassociated with Helicobacter muridarum displayed an accelerated development of IBD in 5-6 weeks compared with 8-12 weeks observed in conventionally reared mice. The outgrowth of CD4(+) T cells in spleen and large intestine of H. muridarum monoassociated mice, as well as in conventionally reared mice was significantly higher than that in the other monoassociated mice.
Conclusions: Among the intestinal bacteria tested, H. muridarum can serve as a provocateur of IBD in this model.