Endotoxin inhibits intestinal epithelial restitution through activation of Rho-GTPase and increased focal adhesions

Selma Cetin, Henri R. Ford, Laura R. Sysko, Charu Agarwal, James Wang, Matthew D. Neal, Catherine Baty, Gerard Apodaca, David J. Hackam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Diseases of gut inflammation such as neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) result after an injury to the mucosal lining of the intestine, leading to translocation of bacteria and endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide). Intestinal mucosal defects are repaired by the process of intestinal restitution, during which enterocytes migrate from healthy areas to sites of injury. In an animal model of NEC, we determined that intestinal restitution was significantly impaired compared with control animals. We therefore sought to determine the mechanisms governing enterocyte migration under basal conditions and after an endotoxin challenge. Here we show that the cytoskeletal reorganization and stress fiber formation required for migration in IEC-6 enterocytes requires RhoA. Enterocytes were found to express the endotoxin receptor Toll-like receptor 4, which served to bind and internalize lipopolysaccharide. Strikingly, endotoxin treatment significantly inhibited intestinal restitution, as measured by impaired IEC-6 cell migration across a scraped wound. Lipopolysaccharide was found to increase RhoA activity in a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent manner, leading to an increase in phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase and an enhanced number of focal adhesions. Importantly, endotoxin caused a progressive, RhoA-dependent increase in cell matrix tension/contractility, which correlated with the observed impairment in enterocyte migration. We therefore conclude that endotoxin inhibits enterocyte migration through a RhoA-dependent increase in focal adhesions and enhanced cell adhesiveness, which may participate in the impaired restitution observed in experimental NEC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24592-24600
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 4 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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