Background: Mucin Muc2 knockout (Muc2-/-) mice spontaneously develop colitis. Methods: To identify genes and biological responses which play a pivotal role during colitis development in Muc2-/-mice, gene expression profiles of colonic tissues from 2- and 4-week-old Muc2-/-and wildtype mice were determined using microarrays. Results: The majority of highly upregulated genes in 2-week-old as well as 4-week-old Muc2-/-mice were primarily involved in immune responses related to antigen processing/presentation, B-cell and T-cell receptor signaling, leukocyte transendothelial migration, and Jak-STAT signaling. Specifically, Muc2-/-mice expressed high levels of immunoglobulins, murine histocompatibility-2, proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and antimicrobial proteins. Additionally, in 4-week-old Muc2-/-mice, expression of genes involved in cell structure related pathways was significantly altered. Particularly, the tight junction-associated gene claudin-10 was upregulated, whereas claudin-1 and claudin-5 were downregulated. Furthermore, 4-week-old Muc2-/-mice showed increased expression of genes regulating cell growth in conjunction with increased crypt length and increased epithelial proliferation. Conclusions: Muc2-deficiency leads to an active inflammatory response in 2- and 4-week-old Muc2-/-mice as demonstrated by the altered expression in immune response related genes. In addition, 4-week-old Muc2-/-mice also showed a decrease in epithelial barrier function and an increase in epithelial proliferation as indicated by, respectively, the altered expression in tight junction-related genes and upregulation of genes stimulating cell growth. Remarkably, upregulation of genes stimulating cell growth correlated with increased crypt length and increased epithelial proliferation in 4-week-old Muc2-/-mice. Together, these data demonstrate that there are distinct phases in colitis development in 2-4-week-old Muc2-/-mice. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2011;) Copyright

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Keywords Muc2, colitis, immune response, inflammatory response, microarray, proliferation
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Lu, P, Burger-van Paassen, N, van der Sluis, M, Witte-Bouma, J, Kerckaert, J.-P, van Goudoever, J.B, … Renes, I.B. (2011). Colonic gene expression patterns of mucin muc2 knockout mice reveal various phases in colitis development. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 17(10), 2047–2057. doi:10.1002/ibd.21592