Objective Many species within the phylum Firmicutes are thought to exert anti-inflammatory effects. We quantified bacteria belonging to the genus Butyricicoccus in stools of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). We evaluated the effect of Butyricicoccus pullicaecorum in a rat colitis model and analysed the ability to prevent cytokine-induced increases in epithelial permeability.
Design A genus-specific quantitative PCR was used for quantification of Butyricicoccus in stools from patients with UC or CD and healthy subjects. The effect of B pullicaecorum on trinitrobenzenesulfonic (TNBS)-induced colitis was assessed and the effect of B pullicaecorum culture supernatant on epithelial barrier function was investigated in vitro.
Results The average number of Butyricicoccus in stools from patients with UC and CD in active (UC: 8.61 log10/g stool; CD: 6.58 log10/g stool) and remission phase (UC: 8.69 log10/g stool; CD: 8.38 log10/g stool) was significantly lower compared with healthy subjects (9.32 log10/g stool) and correlated with disease activity in CD. Oral administration of B pullicaecorum resulted in a significant protective effect based on macroscopic and histological criteria and decreased intestinal myeloperoxidase (MPO), tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin (IL)-12 levels. Supernatant of B pullicaecorum prevented the loss of transepithelial resistance (TER) and the increase in IL-8 secretion induced by TNFα and interferon γ (IFN gamma) in a Caco-2 cell model.
Conclusions Patients with inflammatory bowel disease have lower numbers of Butyricicoccus bacteria in their stools. Administration of B pullicaecorum attenuates TNBS-induced colitis in rats and supernatant of B pullicaecorum cultures strengthens the epithelial barrier function by increasing the TER.
- Epithelial Barrier
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