Activation of Nuclear Factor—κB by Tumor Necrosis Factor in Intestinal Epithelial Cells and Mouse Intestinal Epithelia Reduces Expression of the Chloride Transporter SLC26A3

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Background & Aims: Diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel diseases has been associated with increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF). The intestinal mucosa of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases has reduced expression of solute carrier family 26 member 3 (SLC26A3, also called DRA). We investigated whether TNF directly affects expression of DRA in human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and in the intestines of mice, and studied the mechanisms of these effects.

Methods: We performed quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, immunofluorescence, and immunoblot analyses in Caco-2, HT-29, and T-84 cells human IECs cultured in 2 or 3 dimensions with or without TNF (50 ng/mL for 6–24 hours). We purified nuclear extracts and quantified nuclear factor−κB (NF-κB) activation and DNA binding. We isolated intestinal crypts from C57BL/6 mice, cultured enteroids, incubated these with TNF (50 ng/mL, 24 hours), and quantified messenger RNAs. DRA-mediated exchange of Cl− for HCO3− was measured by uptake of 125I. Expression of the NF-κB inhibitor α (IkBa) was knocked down in Caco-2 cells with small interfering RNAs. Activation of NF-κB in response to TNF was measured by luciferase reporter assays; binding of the NF-κB subunit p65 in cells was analyzed in chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. DRA promoter activity was measured in a luciferase reporter assay. C57BL/6 mice were injected with TNF (5 μg/mouse for 3–6 hours) or vehicle (control); intestines were collected and analyzed by immunofluorescence, or RNA and protein were collected from the mucosa.

Results: Incubation of IECs with TNF reduced expression of DRA. Knockdown of NF-κB inhibitor α in IECs led to nuclear translocation of the NF-κB subunit p65 and reduced levels of DRA messenger RNA and protein. Expression of a transgene encoding p65 or p50 in IECs led to significant reductions in the promoter activity of DRA and its expression. In chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, p65 bound directly to the promoter of DRA, at the regions of −935 to −629 and −375 to −84. Injection of mice with TNF or incubation of crypt-derived enteroids with TNF reduced their expression of DRA messenger RNA and protein.

Conclusions: In human IECs and intestinal tissues from mice, we found TNF to activate NF-κB, which reduced expression of the Cl− / HCO3− exchanger DRA (SLC26A3), via direct binding to the promoter of DRA. This pathway is an important therapeutic target for inflammatory bowel disease−associated diarrhea.


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