Recombinant human interleukin-11 prevents mucosal atrophy and bowel shortening in the defunctionalized intestine

Eva C. Dickinson, Recep Tuncer, Evan P. Nadler, Ugur Koltuksuz, Patricia Boyle, Sean M. Alber, Simon C. Watkins, Henri R. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Mucosal atrophy and bowel shortening are the hallmark of proximal intestinal diversion for extensive necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or Thiry-Vella fistulas (TVF), in which the ends of a defunctionalized loop of intestine are exteriorized as stomas. Recombinant human interleukin-11 (rhIL-11) is a pleiotropic cytokine that promotes epithelial regeneration and enhances adaptation after bowel resection. The authors hypothesized that rhIL-11 may prevent mucosal atrophy and bowel shortening in rats with TVF. Methods: After creation of ileal TVF, Sprague-Dawley rats were selected randomly to receive either rhIL-11 or equal volume of 0.1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) subcutaneously daily. On day 14, the TVF were excised and examined morphologically. Enterocyte apoptosis was measured using the TUNEL assay, Mucosal DNA and protein content were measured. Results: Administration of rhIL-11 resulted in a significantly greater weight gain and less shortening of TVF than BSA treatment. TVF from the rhIL-11-treated group showed evidence of hyperplasia and hypertrophy and increased crypt to villus ratio. The BSA group had substantial mucosal atrophy. There was a qualitative decrease in the incidence of apoptosis in the rhIL-11 group. Conclusions: Recombinant human IL-11 prevents mucosal atrophy and shortening of defunctionalized intestinal loops. It may help reduce the incidence of short gut syndrome in infants with extensive NEC. Copyright (C) 2000 W.B. Saunders Company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1083
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Interleukin-11
  • Intestinal adaptation
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Short bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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