Exogenous interleukin-15 (IL-15) stimulates intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (i-IEL) from mice to proliferate and produce gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in vitro. To determine whether endogenous IL-15 is involved in activation of i-IEL during intestinal infection, we examined IL-15 synthesis by intestinal epithelial cells (i-EC) after infection with Listeria monocytogenes in rats. In in vitro experiments, invasion of L. monocytogenes into IEC-6 cells, a rat small intestine epithelial cell line, evidently induced IL-15 mRNA expression coincident with nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activation, which is essential for IL-15 gene expression. IL-15 synthesis was detected in rat i-EC on day 1 after an oral inoculation of L. monocytogenes in vivo. The numbers of T-cell receptor (TCR) γδ+ T cells, NKR.P1+ cells, and CD3+ CD8+ αα cells in i-IEL were significantly increased on day 1 after oral infection. The i-IEL from infected rats produced larger amounts of IFN-γ upon stimulation with immobilized anti-TCR γδ or anti-NKR.P1 monoclonal antibodies. These results suggest that IL-15 produced by i-EC may stimulate significant fractions of i-IEL to produce IFN-γ at an early phase of oral infection with L. monocytogenes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases