Neonatal animals are generally very susceptible to infection with bacterial pathogens. However, we recently reported that neonatal mice are highly resistant to orogastric infection with Yersinia enterocolitica. Here, we show that proinflammatory responses greatly exceeding those in adults arise very rapidly in the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) of neonates. High-level induction of proinflammatory gene expression occurred in the neonatal MLN as early as 18 h postinfection. Marked innate phagocyte recruitment was subsequently detected at 24 h postinfection. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISPOT) analyses indicated that enhanced inflammation in neonatal MLN is contributed to, in part, by an increased frequency of proinflammatory cytokinesecreting cells. Moreover, both CD11b+ and CD11b- cell populations appeared to play a role in proinflammatory gene expression. The level of inflammation in neonatal MLN was also dependent on key bacterial components. Y. enterocolitica lacking the virulence plasmid failed to induce innate phagocyte recruitment. In contrast, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) protein expression and neutrophil recruitment were strikingly higher in neonatal MLN after infection with a yopP-deficient strain than with wild-type Y. enterocolitica, whereas only modest increases occurred in adults. This hyperinflammatory response was associated with greater colonization of the spleen and higher mortality in neonates, while there was no difference in mortality among adults. This model highlights the dynamic levels of inflammation in the intestinal lymphoid tissues and reveals the protective (wild-type strain) versus harmful (yopP-deficient strain) consequences of inflammation in neonates. Moreover, these results reveal that the neonatal intestinal lymphoid tissues have great potential to rapidly mobilize innate components in response to infection with bacterial enteropathogens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases