Rotavirus alters paracellular permeability and energy metabolism in Caco-2 cells
Cell Membrane Permeability
Rotaviruses infect epithelial cells of the small intestine, but the pathophysiology of the resulting severe diarrhea is incompletely understood. Histological damage to intestinal epithelium is not a consistent feature, and in vitro studies showed that intestinal cells did not undergo rapid death and lysis during viral replication. We show that rotavirus infection of Caco-2 cells caused disruption of tight junctions and loss of transepithelial resistance (TER) in the absence of cell death. TER declined from 300 to 22 Omega. cm(2) between 8 and 24 h after infection and was accompanied by increased transepithelial permeability to macromolecules of 478 and 4,000 Da. Distribution of tight junction proteins claudin-1, occludin, and ZO-1 was significantly altered during infection. Claudin-1 redistribution was notably apparent at the onset of the decline in TER. Infection was associated with increased production of lactate, decreased mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and reduced cellular ATP (60% of control at 24 h after infection), conditions known to reduce the integrity of epithelial tight junctions. In conclusion, these data show that rotavirus infection of Caco-2 intestinal cells altered tight junction structure and function, which may be a response to metabolic dysfunction.