Background & Aims The intestinal epithelium is the first line of defense against enteric pathogens. We investigated the response of small intestinal and colonic crypt cultures to a panel of toll-like receptor ligands to assess the impact of microbial pattern recognition on epithelial growth. Methods Primary murine jejunal enteroids and colonoids were cultured with lipopeptide Pam3CSK4, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (Poly I:C) for 4 to 6 days. Surface area, budding and survival were assessed. Proliferation and numbers of lysozyme positive cells were quantified by flow cytometry. Gene expression was assessed by Nanostring and qRT-PCR. Results Exposure to Pam3CSK4 and LPS hadminimal impact on either enteroids or colonoids. In contrast, Poly I:C increased the surface area of enteroids, while colonoids demonstrated decreased budding. Survival was decreased by Poly I:C in enteroids but not in colonoids. Both enteroids and colonoids exhibited upregulated gene expression of chemokines, but these were increased in magnitude in enteroids. Decreases in gene expression associated with epithelial differentiation and lysozyme positive cells weremore apparent in enteroids than in colonoids. Baseline gene expression between enteroids and colonoids differed markedly in levels of stem cell and inflammatorymarkers. The changes inmorphology induced by Poly I:C were mediated by the toll-like receptor adaptor molecule 1 (Ticam1) in enteroids but not in colonoids. Conclusions Poly I:C alters the molecular program of epithelial cells and shifts from absorption and digestion towards defense and inflammation. Diversity of responses to microbial patterns in enteroids and colonoids may underlie differences in susceptibility to infection along the intestinal tract.
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