Prostaglandins stimulate electrogenic anion secretion and inhibit sodium chloride absorption in cryptosporidium induced pig diarrhoea. Because tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) is an early mediator of inflammation and stimulates prostaglandin secretion, we investigated its effect on intestinal ion transport. Cryptosporidium infected pig ileum showed higher macrophage infiltration and tissue TNF alpha-like activity than uninfected tissues (p < 0.05, n = 4 and p < 0.05, n = 12, respectively). TNF alpha treatment of control porcine ileal mucosa increased the short circuit current (Isc), a measurement of net anion secretion in this model (p < 0.001, n = 23). This effect was blocked by 10(-6) M indomethacin and Cl- replacement. Neither acute treatment nor preincubation of colonic intestinal epithelial cell monolayers (T84) with TNF alpha stimulated the Isc. However, co-mounting of TNF alpha preincubated pig jejunal fibroblasts (P2JF) monolayers back to back with untreated T84 monolayers dose-dependently induced an indomethacin sensitive increase in Isc compared with values in untreated co-mounted monolayers (p < 0.001, n = 11). These data suggest that in infectious diarrhoea, TNF alpha may induce Cl- secretion through a paracrine mechanism involving prostaglandin release from subepithelial cells, for example fibroblasts.
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