Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) are a major component of the Gram-negative bacterial cell wall and play an important role in mediating intestinal inflammatory responses in inflammatory bowel disease. Although recent studies suggested that physiologically relevant concentrations of LPS (0 to 1 ng/mL) cause an increase in intestinal epithelial tight junction (TJ) permeability, the mechanisms that mediate an LPS-induced increase in intestinal TJ permeability remain unclear. Herein, we show that myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) plays a central role in the LPS-induced increase in TJ permeability. Filter-grown Caco-2 intestinal epithelial monolayers and C57BL/6 mice were used as an in vitro and in vivo intestinal epithelial model system, respectively. LPS caused a dose- and time-dependent increase in MLCK expression and kinase activity in Caco-2 monolayers. The pharmacologic MLCK inhibition and siRNA-induced knock-down of MLCK inhibited the LPS-induced increase in Caco-2 TJ permeability. The LPS increase in TJ permeability was mediated by toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4)/MyD88 signal-transduction pathway up-regulation of MLCK expression. The LPS-induced increase in mouse intestinal permeability also required an increase in MLCK expression. The LPS-induced increase in intestinal permeability was inhibited in MLCK−/− and TLR-4−/− mice. These data show, for the first time, that the LPS-induced increase in intestinal permeability was mediated by TLR-4/MyD88 signal-transduction pathway up-regulation of MLCK. Therapeutic targeting of these pathways can prevent an LPS-induced increase in intestinal permeability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine