Intestinal Intraepithelial Lymphocytes Sustain the Epithelial Barrier Function against Eimeria vermiformis Infection
Inagaki-Ohara K., Dewi FN., Hisaeda H., Smith AL., Jimi F., Miyahira M., Abdel-Aleem ASF., Horii Y., Nawa Y.
<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title> <jats:p> <jats:italic>Eimeria</jats:italic> spp. are intracellular protozoa that infect intestinal epithelia of most vertebrates, causing coccidiosis. Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) that reside at the basolateral site of epithelial cells (EC) have immunoregulatory and immunoprotective roles against <jats:italic>Eimeria</jats:italic> spp. infection. However, it remains unknown how IEL are involved in the regulation of epithelial barrier during <jats:italic>Eimeria</jats:italic> sp. infection. Here, we demonstrated two distinct roles of IEL against infection with <jats:italic>Eimeria vermiformis</jats:italic>, a murine pathogen: production of cytokines to induce protective immunity and expression of junctional molecules to preserve epithelial barrier. The number of IEL markedly increased when oocyst production reached a peak. During infection, IEL increased production of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and decreased transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) production. Addition of IFN-γ and TNF-α or supernatants obtained from cultured IEL from <jats:italic>E. vermiformis</jats:italic>-infected mice reduced transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) in a confluent CMT93 cell monolayer, a murine intestine-derived epithelial line, but antibodies against these cytokines suppressed the decline of TER. Moreover, TGF-β attenuated the damage of epithelial monolayer and changes in TER caused by IFN-γ and TNF-α. The expression of junctional molecules by EC was decreased when IEL produced a high level of IFN-γ and TNF-α and a low level of TGF-β in <jats:italic>E. vermiformis</jats:italic>-infected mice. Interestingly, IEL constantly expressed junctional molecules and a coculture of EC with IEL increased TER. These results suggest that IEL play important multifunctional roles not only in protection of the epithelium against <jats:italic>E. vermiformis</jats:italic>-induced change by cytokine production but also in direct interaction with the epithelial barrier when intra-EC junctions are down-regulated.</jats:p>