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Background: The digestive tract is the maximal immunizing tissue in the body, and mucosal integrity and functional status of the gut is very important to maintain a healthy organism. Severe infection is one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal dysfunction, and the pathogenesis is closely related to endotoxemia and intestinal barrier injury. Bifidobacterium is one of the main probiotics in the human body that is involved in digestion, absorption, metabolism, nutrition, and immunity. Bifidobacterium plays an important role in maintaining the intestinal mucosal barrier integrity. This study investigated the protective mechanism of Bifidobacterium during ileal injury in rats.

Aim: To investigate the effects of Bifidobacterium on cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the ileum of rats with endotoxin injury.

Methods: Preweaning rats were randomly divided into three groups: Control (group C), model (group E) and treatment (group T). Group E was intraperitoneally injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to create an animal model of intestinal injury. Group T was intragastrically administered Bifidobacterium suspension 7 d before LPS. Group C was intraperitoneally injected with normal saline. The rats were killed at 2, 6 or 12 h after LPS or physiological saline injection to collect ileal tissue samples. The expression of ileal CINC mRNA was evaluated by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and expression of ileal IGF-1 protein and mRNA was detected by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR, respectively.

Results: The ileum of rats in Group C did not express CINC mRNA, ileums from Group E expressed high levels, which was then significantly decreased in Group T (F = 23.947, P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in CINC mRNA expression at different times (F = 0.665, P > 0.05). There was a high level of IGF-1 brown granules in ileal crypts and epithelial cells in Group C, sparse staining in Group E, and dark, dense brown staining in Group T. There was a significant difference between Groups C and E and Groups E and T (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in IGF-1 protein expression at different times (F = 1.269, P > 0.05). IGF-1 mRNA expression was significantly different among the three groups (P < 0.05), though not at different times (F = 0.086, P > 0.05).

Conclusion: Expression of CINC mRNA increased in the ileum of preweaning rats with endotoxin injury, and exogenous administration of Bifidobacterium reduced CINC mRNA expression. IGF-1 protein and mRNA expression decreased in the ileum of preweaning rats with endotoxin injury, and exogenous administration of Bifidobacterium prevented the decrease in IGF-1 expression. Bifidobacterium may increase IGF-1 expression and enhance intestinal immune barrier function in rats with endotoxin injury.

Keywords: Bifidobacterium; Cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant; Ileum; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Rats.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
BifidobacteriumImproved Intestinal Immune Barrier FunctionBeneficial
BifidobacteriumIncreased Insulin-like Growth Factor ExpressionBeneficial
BifidobacteriumReduced Neutrophil Chemoattractant ExpressionBeneficial

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