Mucosal healing occurs through migration and proliferation of cells within injured epithelium, yet these processes may be inadequate for mucosal healing after significant injury where the mucosa is denuded. We hypothesize that extra-intestinal cells can contribute to mucosal healing after injury to the small and large intestine. We generated parabiotic pairs between wild-type and tdTomato mice, which were then subjected to radiation-induced enteritis and 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis. We now show that as compared with singleton mice, mice with a parabiotic partner were protected against intestinal damage as revealed by significantly reduced weight loss, reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, reduced enterocyte apoptosis, and improved crypt proliferation. Donor cells expressed CD45 − , Sca-1 + , c-kit + , and CXCR4 + and accumulated around the injured crypts but did not transdifferentiate into epithelia, suggesting that extra-intestinal cells play a paracrine role in the healing response, while parabiotic pairings with Rag1 -/- mice showed improved healing, indicating that adaptive immune cells were dispensable for mucosal healing. Strikingly, ablation of the bone marrow of the donor parabionts removed the protective effects. These findings reveal that the recruitment of extra-intestinal, bone marrow-derived cells into the injured intestinal mucosa can promote mucosal healing, suggesting novel therapeutic approaches for severe intestinal disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy