Bacterial-induced inflammation in germ-free rabbit appendix

Malathy Shanmugam, Periannan Sethupathi, Ki Jong Rhee, Sherri Yong, Katherine L. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The intestinal ecosystem is defined by a series of interactions between the microbiota, the mucosal epithelium, and the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). Perturbations in the fine balance of the interactions between these components can result in gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The pathophysiology of IBD is thought to develop as a result of dysregulated mucosal immune responses to normal luminal microflora. Several animal models for IBD have been developed and underscore the role of the immune system in development of disease. Most of the existing animal models studying IBD are based on the use of chemically induced IBD or of genetically modified and germ-free animals. It is, however, important to study inflammatory responses that can develop from interactions between bacteria, the mucosal epithelium, and GALT in animals that are not genetically modified or immunocompromised. In this report, we document the use of a germ-free ligated rabbit appendix model to induce inflammatory changes in response to specific bacteria. With the introduction of a Bacteroides vulgatus isolate from humans into the germ-free ligated appendix, we found chronic inflammatory changes, including glandular distortion, gland drop-out, decreased goblet cells, and crypt abscess formation. However, with the introduction of other experimental luminal contents, we observed no inflammation. These results show that specific microbial composition can induce inflammation. We suggest that this model may be useful to study the mechanism by which specific bacteria establish inflammatory responses in the gut.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)992-996
Number of pages5
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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