Innate immunity contributes to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the mechanisms of IBD mediated by innate immunity are incompletely understood and there are limited models of spontaneous innate immune colitis to address this question. Here we describe a new robust model of colitis occurring in the absence of adaptive immunity. RAG1-deficient mice expressing TNFAIP3 in intestinal epithelial cells (TRAG mice) spontaneously developed 100% penetrant, early-onset colitis that was limited to the colon and dependent on intestinal microbes but was not transmissible to co-housed littermates. TRAG colitis was associated with increased mucosal numbers of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and depletion of ILC prevented colitis in TRAG mice. ILC depletion also therapeutically reversed established colitis in TRAG mice. The colitis in TRAG mice was not prevented by interbreeding to mice lacking group 3 ILC nor by depletion of TNF. Treatment with the JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib ameliorated colitis in TRAG mice. This new model of colitis, with its predictable onset and colon-specific inflammation, will have direct utility in developing a more complete understanding of innate immune mechanisms that can contribute to colitis and in pre-clinical studies for effects of therapeutic agents on innate immune-mediated IBD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy