Glutamine downregulates TLR-2 and TLR-4 expression and protects intestinal tract in preterm neonatal rats with necrotizing enterocolitis

Wei Zhou, Wei Li, Xiao-Hui Zheng, Xiao Rong, Long-Guang Huang
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2014, 49 (7): 1057-63

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 and TLR-2 play an essential role in the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). In this study, we investigated the protective effect of glutamine (Gln) in an NEC neonatal rat model, and the potential association with TLR-4 and TLR-2 expression in local intestinal tissues.

METHODS: Preterm neonatal rats were randomly divided into 3 groups: normal control; NEC model; and NEC plus Gln intervention. NEC was induced by feeding with artificial milk substitutes, plus exposure to hypoxia and cold stress. All preterm rats were sacrificed at 3 days after birth. The intestinal tissues were taken for pathological analysis. Protein and mRNA expression of TLR-2, TLR-4, and caspase-3 was examined by immunohistochemistry and real-time RT-PCR, respectively.

RESULTS: Compared with the normal control, the NEC neonatal rats showed mucosal injury and upregulated mRNA and protein expression of TLR-2, TLR-4, and caspase-3 in ileum and colon. Gln intervention significantly reduced the mucosal injury and suppressed the upregulated expression of TLR-2, TLR-4, and caspace-3 in the ileum and colon of NEC neonatal rats.

CONCLUSIONS: Gln protects the intestinal tract of NEC neonatal rats, which may be associated with the reduction of TLR-2 and TLR-4 expression in intestines.

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