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Rac2-deficiency leads to exacerbated and protracted colitis in response to Citrobacter rodentium infection.

  • Author(s): Fattouh, Ramzi
  • Guo, Cong-Hui
  • Lam, Grace Y
  • Gareau, Melanie G
  • Ngan, Bo-Yee
  • Glogauer, Michael
  • Muise, Aleixo M
  • Brumell, John H
  • et al.
Abstract

Recent genetic-based studies have implicated a number of immune-related genes in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our recent genetic studies showed that RAC2 is associated with human IBD; however, its role in disease pathogenesis is unclear. Given Rac2's importance in various fundamental immune cell processes, we investigated whether a defect in Rac2 may impair host immune responses in the intestine and promote disease in the context of an infection-based (Citrobacter rodentium) model of colitis. In response to infection, Rac2(-/-) mice showed i) worsened clinical symptoms (days 13-18), ii) increased crypt hyperplasia at days 11 and 22 (a time when crypt hyperplasia was largely resolved in wild-type mice; WT), and iii) marked mononuclear cell infiltration characterized by higher numbers of T (CD3(+)) cells (day 22), compared to WT-infected mice. Moreover, splenocytes harvested from infected Rac2(-/-) mice and stimulated in vitro with C. rodentium lysate produced considerably higher levels of interferon-γ and interleukin-17A. The augmented responses observed in Rac2(-/-) mice did not appear to stem from Rac2's role in NADPH oxidase-driven reactive oxygen species production as no differences in crypt hyperplasia, nor inflammation, were observed in infected NOX2(-/-) mice compared to WT. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that Rac2(-/-) mice develop more severe disease when subjected to a C. rodentium-induced model of infectious colitis, and suggest that impaired Rac2 function may promote the development of IBD in humans.

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