21 October 2015
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and -9 (also referred to gelatinases-A and -B, respectively) are upregulated in the inflamed gut of mice and men. We recently demonstrated that synthetic gelatinase blockage reduced large intestinal pro-inflammatory immune responses and apoptosis following murine Campylobacter (C.) jejuni infection. In order to address which gelatinase mediates C. jejuni-induced immune responses, gnotobiotic MMP-2 –/–, MMP-9 –/–, and wildtype (WT) mice were generated by broadspectrum antibiotic treatment and perorally infected with C. jejuni strain 81-176. The pathogen stably colonized the murine intestinal tract irrespective of the genotype but did not translocate to extra-intestinal compartments. At days 8 and 14 postinfection (p.i.), less pronounced colonic histopathological changes were observed in infected MMP-2 –/– mice, less distinct epithelial apoptosis, but more epithelial proliferation in both MMP-2 –/– and MMP-9 –/– mice, as compared to WT controls. Reduced immune responses in gelatinase-deficient mice were characterized by lower numbers of effector as well as innate and adaptive immune cells within the colonic mucosa and lamina propria. The expression of IL-22, IL-18, IL-17A, and IL-1β mRNA was higher in the colon of MMP-2 –/– as compared to WT mice. In conclusion, both MMP-2 and MMP-9 are differentially involved in mediating C. jejuni-induced intestinal immunopathology.