The intestinal mucosal barrier (IMB) enables the intestine to provide adequate containment of luminal microorganisms and molecules while preserving the ability to absorb nutrients. In this study, we explored the effect of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) on IMB function and gut microbiota in mice. BDNF gene knock-out mice (the BDNF+/− group) and wild-type mice (the BDNF+/+ group) were selected. The gut microbiota of these mice was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) assay. The ultrastructure of the ileum and the colonic epithelium obtained from decapitated mice were observed by transmission electron microscopy. The protein expression of epithelial tight junction proteins, zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin was detected by immunohistochemistry staining. The protein expression of claudin-1 and claudin-2 was determined by Western blotting. The DGGE band patterns of gut microbiota in the BDNF+/− group were significantly different from that in the BDNF+/+ group, which indicated that the BDNF expression alters the gut microbiota in mice. Compared with the BDNF+/+ group, the BDNF+/− group presented no significant difference in the ultrastructure of ileal epithelium; however, a significant difference was observed in the colonic epithelial barrier, manifested by decreased microvilli, widening intercellular space and bacterial invasion. Compared with the BDNF+/+ group, the expression of ZO-1 and occludin in the BDNF+/− group was significantly decreased. The expression of claudin-1 in the BDNF+/− group was significantly reduced, while the expression of claudin-2 was elevated. These findings indicate that BDNF preserves IMB function and modulates gut microbiota in mice.
Li, C., Cai, Y. Y., & Yan, Z. X. (2018). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor preserves intestinal mucosal barrier function and alters gut microbiota in mice. Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences, 34(3), 134–141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.kjms.2017.11.002