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Loss of NHE8 expression impairs intestinal mucosal integrity

Journal article
Authors Aiping Wang
Jing Li
Yang Zhao
Malin E V Johansson
Hua Xu
Fayez K. Ghishan
Published in American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Volume 309
Issue 11
Pages G855-64
ISSN 0193-1857
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages G855-64
Language en
Keywords Paneth cell, goblet cell, sodium/hydrogen exchanger 8, mucosa
Subject categories Medical cell biology


The newest member of the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger (NHE) family, NHE8, is abundantly expressed at the apical membrane of the intestinal epithelia. We previously reported that mucin 2 expression was significantly decreased in the colon in NHE8(-/-) mice, suggesting that NHE8 is involved in intestinal mucosal protection. In this study, we further evaluated the role of NHE8 in intestinal epithelial protection after dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) challenge. Compared with wild-type mice, NHE8(-/-) mice have increased bacterial adhesion and inflammation, especially in the distal colon. NHE8(-/-) mice are also susceptible to DSS treatment. Real-time PCR detected a remarkable increase in the expression of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-4 in DSS-treated NHE8(-/-) mice compared with DSS-treated wild-type littermates. Immunohistochemistry showed a disorganized epithelial layer in the colon of NHE8(-/-) mice. Periodic acid-Schiff staining showed a reduction in the number of mature goblet cells and the area of the goblet cell theca in NHE8(-/-) mice. Phyloxine/tartrazine staining revealed a decrease in functional Paneth cell population in the NHE8(-/-) small intestinal crypt. The expression of enteric defensins was also decreased in NHE8(-/-) mice. The reduced mucin production in goblet cells and antimicrobial peptides production in Paneth cells lead to disruption of the intestinal mucosa protection. Therefore, NHE8 may be involved in the establishment of intestinal mucosal integrity by regulating the functions of goblet and Paneth cells.

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