Morphological and functional changes in the colonic epithelial cells in a rabbit model of colitis
A rabbit model of TNBS-colitis was used to study the effect of intestinal inflammation on epithelial cell function. Epithelial cells were isolated using a non-enzymatic isolation method without any apparent contamination with infiltrating immune cells. The isolated cells were found to be viable using dye exclusion studies, unidirectional Na+ -fluxes, proliferation assays and morphological studies. The cells, however, showed morphological changes that suggested the presence of increased number of secretory vesicles. This increase correlated well with the increase observed in ion and water secretion as measured by the short-circuit current. Finally, in the colitic tissue the number of PGE2 receptors was greatly reduced with no changes observed in the affinity of PGE2 to its receptor. The reduced number of PGE2 receptors might be due to sensitization of the receptor. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that morphologically and functionally normal epithelial cells can be isolated from the rabbit inflamed distal colon.