Neutrophil priming by hypoxic preconditioning protects against epithelial barrier damage and enteric bacterial translocation in intestinal ischemia/reperfusion

Yen-Zhen Lu, Chi Chin Wu, Yi Chen Huang, Ching Ying Huang, Chung Yi Yang, Tsung Chun Lee, Chau Fong Chen, Linda Chia Hui Yu

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Intestinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) induces mucosal barrier dysfunction and bacterial translocation (BT). Neutrophil-derived oxidative free radicals have been incriminated in the pathogenesis of ischemic injury in various organs, but their role in the bacteria-containing intestinal tract is debatable. Primed neutrophils are characterized by a faster and higher respiratory burst activity associated with more robust bactericidal effects on exposure to a second stimulus. Hypoxic preconditioning (HPC) attenuates ischemic injury in brain, heart, lung and kidney; no reports were found in the gut. Our aim is to investigate whether neutrophil priming by HPC protects against intestinal I/R-induced barrier damage and bacterial influx. Rats were raised in normoxia (NM) or kept in a hypobaric hypoxic chamber (380 Torr) 17 h/day for 3 weeks for HPC, followed by sham operation or intestinal I/R. Gut permeability was determined by using an ex vivo macromolecular flux assay and an in vivo magnetic resonance imaging-based method. Liver and spleen homogenates were plated for bacterial culturing. Rats raised in HPC showed diminished levels of BT, and partially improved mucosal histopathology and epithelial barrier function compared with the NM groups after intestinal I/R. Augmented cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC)-1 and-3 levels and myeloperoxidase activity correlated with enhanced infiltration of neutrophils in intestines of HPC-I/R compared with NM-I/R rats. HPC alone caused blood neutrophil priming, as shown by elevated production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide on stimulation, increased membrane translocation of cytosolic p47 phox and p67 phox, as well as augmented bacterial-killing and phagocytotic activities. Neutrophil depletion reversed the mucosal protection by HPC, and aggravated intestinal leakiness and BT following I/R. In conclusion, neutrophil priming by HPC protects against I/R-induced BT via direct antimicrobial activity by oxidative respiratory bursts and through promotion of epithelial barrier integrity for luminal confinement of enteric bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-796
Number of pages14
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial translocation
  • Epithelial permeability
  • Hypoxic preconditioning
  • Intestinal barrier function
  • Mesenteric ischemia
  • Neutrophil priming
  • Respiratory burst activity

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