Background: Sepsis induces gut barrier dysfunction characterized by increased gut epithelial apoptosis and increased intestinal permeability. The cytokine IL-22 has been demonstrated to regulate gut barrier function. Type-3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3) are the predominate source of IL-22 in the GI tract. We hypothesized that sepsis may cause changes to the gut ILC3/IL-22 axis. Materials and Methods: Sepsis was induced in WT and IL-22 KO mice by Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia. Changes in gut-associated leukocyte populations were determined by flow-cytometry and ILC-associated transcripts were measured by RT-PCR. The effect of sepsis on gut permeability, pulmonary microbial burden, gut epithelial apoptosis, and survival was compared between WT and IL-22-/- mice. Results: Sepsis resulted in a significant decrease in the number of ILC3 in the gut, with a reciprocal increase in type-1 ILC (ILC1). Consistent with prior reports, sepsis was associated with increased gut permeability; however there was no difference in gut permeability, gut epithelial apoptosis, pulmonary microbial burden, or survival between WT and IL-22-/- mice. Conclusions: Septic pneumonia causes a decrease in gut-associated ILC3 and an associated reciprocal increase in ILC1. This may reflect inflammation-induced conversion of ILC3 to ILC1. Constitutive systemic IL-22 deficiency does not alter sepsis-induced gut barrier dysfunction.
- Mucosal immunity