Background/aims: Subserosal injection of purified group A streptococcal peptidoglycan-polysaccharide (PG-APS) induces chronic relapsing granulomatous enterocolitis and systemic inflammation in susceptible inbred Lewis rats but only transient intestinal injury in Buffalo and Fischer rats. Cecal interleukin 1 (IL-1) and IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) expression was measured in inbred rats displaying differential susceptibility to experimental enterocolitis.
Methods: The ileum and cecum of Lewis, Buffalo, and Fischer rats were subserosally injected with purified PG-APS or albumin. IL-1 and IL-1ra messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein (IL-1 only) were measured 1 or 27 days later. PG-APS-injected Lewis rats were treated with recombinant human IL-1ra. Kinetics of IL-1 and IL-1ra mRNA expression were studied in peritoneal cells.
Results: All rats strains developed acute inflammation with increased cecal concentrations of IL-1 beta and IL-1ra mRNA. Lewis rats developed chronic enterocolitis and had higher IL-1 and IL-1ra mRNA tissue levels than Buffalo or Fischer rats, which displayed no chronic inflammation. IL-1 beta and IL-1ra were produced by submucosal granulomas and correlated with inflammation. IL-1 alpha protein levels paralleled IL-1 beta mRNA expression. IL-1ra treatment attenuated acute and chronic enterocolitis, adhesions, and arthritis. PG-APS induced IL-1 and IL-1ra expression in peritoneal cells from Lewis and Fischer rats.
Conclusions: Bacterial cell wall polymers stimulate IL-1 and IL-1ra expression in vivo and in vitro. These counterbalancing cytokines are increased in experimental enterocolitis and have important immunoregulatory roles in intestinal inflammation.