Background & aims: Intestinal epithelial cells constitute a barrier between host and external milieu and can play a role in signaling the influx of leukocytes during the acute mucosal inflammatory response. To further explore this role, the regulated expression of twelve C-X-C, C-C, and C-chemokines by human colon epithelial cells was characterized.
Methods: Chemokine production was assessed in HT-29 and Caco-2 human colon epithelial cells that were infected with Salmonella dublin or stimulated with interleukin 1 alpha or tumor necrosis factor alpha and in freshly isolated human colon epithelial cells by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: Expression of the neutrophil chemoattractants GRO-alpha, GRO-gamma, and interleukin 8 increased rapidly (2-3 hours) but transiently after infection or proinflammatory agonist stimulator. In contrast, expression of another neutrophil chemoattractant, epithelial cell-derived neutrophil activator 78, was delayed for 6-10 hours, and secretion continued to increase for 24 hours after infection. Among C-C chemokines known to chemoattract different leukocyte populations, monocyte chemotactic peptide 1 was rapidly expressed, whereas RANTES was up-regulated with delayed kinetics. Freshly isolated colon epithelial cells produced an array of chemokines similar to the cell lines, as well as macrophage inflammatory proteins 1 alpha and 1 beta.
Conclusions: These data suggest that regulated chemokine production by epithelial cells results in temporal and spatial mucosal chemokine gradients that are important in both early and later phases of the mucosal inflammatory response.