Inflammation-induced by the interaction of the Vibrio cholerae with the epithelial cells is considered as a main cause of bacteria spreading through the gastrointestinal tract and its consequences. Because of the immunomodulatory and antibacterial properties of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs), this study aimed to investigate the effect of AD-MSCs on the interaction of the bacterial-epithelial cell. Caco-2 differentiated to intestinal epithelial cells co-cultured with AD-MSCs in a 1:1 ratio of the surface area of six-well plates, for 48 hours. After exposure to Vibrio cholerae, bacterial attachment and internalization were evaluated. Secretions of interleukin (IL) -6, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and nitric oxide (NO) were also measured using ELISA, and Griess assay, respectively. In addition, the expression of chloratoxin (Ctx-β) and inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-8 were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The rate of apoptosis was also evaluated by Annexin V-PI flow cytometry. Bacterial attachment and Ctx-β expression were significantly reduced in the co-culture group compared to the Vibrio cholerae-exposed Caco-2. IL-6 and PGE2 secretion increased in the co-culture group. NO, was also slightly reduced in exposure to Vibrio cholerae. An elevated level of bacterial internalization was observed in the co-culture group compared to the Caco-2 cells leading to an increase in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The rate of apoptosis was also increased significantly. Cell-to-cell contact of AD-MSCs and Caco-2 promoted inflammatory responses and disruption of the epithelium barrier by enhancing bacterial invasion. This may be due to the high expression of surface matrix metalloproteinases on MSCs.
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