Background: Cirrhosis-related intestinal hyperpermeability and endotoxemia are characterized by intestinal epithelial cell apoptosis, impaired restitution (proliferation and migration), decreased tight junction protein levels, and subsequent barrier dysfunction. In addition to endotoxin and TNFα, CEACAM1 plays crucial roles in the regulation of apoptosis, restitution, tight junction protein-maintained barrier function of intestinal epithelial cells.
Methods: This study aims to explore the roles and underlying mechanisms of CEACAM1 in cirrhosis-related intestinal hyperpermeability through in vitro approach.
Results: In cirrhotic patients, high serum levels of intestinal hyperpermeability (zonulin and endotoxin) markers were accompanied by elevated serum levels of TNFα and soluble CEACAM1. In in vitro experiments, we evaluated the individual and interacted roles of TNFα and human recombinant CEACAM1 (hrCEACAM1) in LC-sera (sera of cirrhotic patients)-induced intestinal hyperpermeability-related pathogenic signals. In the Caco-2 cell culture, LC-sera, TNFα and hrCEACAM1 increased apoptosis (measured by TUNEL+/annexin-5+PI+ cells and caspase-3 activity), decreased restitution capacity (proliferation and migration), and disrupted tight junction protein-maintained barrier function in Caco-2 cells. The pathogenic changes mentioned above were accompanied by an increase in intracellular ROS levels, LDH release, and endoplasmic reticulum stress-related signals in the LC-sera or TNFα-pretreated Caco-2 cells. Concomitant incubation of Caco-2 cells with anti-CEACAM1 suppressed these LC-sera or TNFα-induced negative effects on restitution, barrier function, and cell viability.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that sera from cirrhotic patients contain soluble CEACAM1, which is involved in the pathogenesis of intestinal hyperpermeability. Accordingly, it is noteworthy to explore the potential use of anti-CEACAM1 treatment for cirrhosis-related intestinal hyperpermeability and endotoxemia.
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