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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26168

Title: Microbial-host Interactions and Modulation of Epithelial Barrier Function: Pathogens to Probiotics
Authors: Donato, Kevin
Advisor: Sherman, Philip M.
Department: Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology
Keywords: microbiology
cell biology
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2011
Abstract: The epithelial cell layer that lines the intestine creates a barrier, largely mediated by the tight junction (TJ) apparatus, which serves as a first line of protection from the contents in the lumen containing an enormous number of microbes. Cellular microbiology, the study of microbial-host interactions, is used to describe mechanisms that play a role in the way epithelial cells regulate barrier properties in the context of bacterial colonization. The research in this thesis had three aims: (1) to characterize the effects of candidate pathogenic bacteria on the epithelial barrier, (2) to determine if a beneficial microbe (a probiotic bacterium) could ameliorate the deleterious effects of a pathogenic infection on this barrier, and (3) to extend the investigation of probiotic mechanisms in the context of pro-inflammatory cytokine-mediated barrier dysfunction. In the first part of this thesis, two undercharacterized bacterial species purported to cause diarrheal illness, Escherichia albertii and Hafnia alvei, were employed in a polarized epithelial infection model with outcome measures including transepithelial electrical resistance (TER), macromolecular permeability, TJ protein immunofluorescence staining, and immunoblotting. A well characterized pathogen, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), serotype O157:H7, was used as a positive control to demonstrate deleterious effects on TJs. All of the bacteria tested decreased TER, but the effects on TJs and TJ protein expression were specific to the bacterial strain tested and the epithelial model cell line used. The second component of this thesis investigated how probiotics confer beneficial effects on epithelial barrier function. A probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), was employed to effectively block EHEC O157:H7 adherence to epithelial cells and prevent the ability of the pathogen to induce characteristic attaching-effacing lesions on epithelial cell surfaces. LGG ameliorated the pathogenic effects on barrier function normally induced by EHEC O157:H7, including prevention of decreased TER, increased permeability to a dextran probe, and rearrangement of tight junction architecture. The third section elucidated the role of LGG in the prevention of barrier disruption due to pro-inflammatory cytokine stimuli (IFN-γ and TNF-α). Using a polarized epithelial (Caco-2bbe) cell model, LGG treatment largely prevented cytokine-induced decreases in TER and TJ disruption. Furthermore, LGG suppressed the secretion of the chemokines interleukin-8 (CXCL-8) and eotaxin-1 (CCL-11), and the activation of NF-κB. Preliminary experimentation demonstrated a role for mitogen-activated protein kinases, with pharmacologic inhibition of extracellular signal related kinase (ERK-1/2) abolishing the protective effects of LGG. Taken together, the findings presented in this thesis demonstrate how cellular microbiology models can be used to study host-microbial interactions, giving insight as to how the intestinal epithelium regulates barrier function; characterizing enteropathogenic candidates, and the diversity in responses to these bacteria that is dependent on both the bacterial strain and the epithelial cell line tested; and elucidating the mechanisms of probiotic action to reduce the deleterious effects of infection and inflammation.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26168
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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