• Caspase-1;
  • Colitis;
  • IL-10;
  • IRAK-M;
  • Microbiota


A healthy intestinal tract is characterized by controlled homeostasis due to the balanced interaction between commensal bacteria and the host mucosal immune system. Human and animal model studies have supported the hypothesis that breakdown of this homeostasis may underlie the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases. However, it is not well understood how intestinal microflora stimulate the intestinal mucosal immune system and how such activation is regulated. Using a spontaneous, commensal bacteria-dependent colitis model in IL-10-deficient mice, we investigated the role of TLR and their negative regulation in intestinal homeostasis. In addition to IL-10−/−MyD88−/− mice, IL-10−/−TLR4−/− mice exhibited reduced colitis compared to IL-10−/− mice, indicating that TLR4 signaling plays an important role in inducing colitis. Interestingly, the expression of IRAK-M, a negative regulator of TLR signaling, is dependent on intestinal commensal flora, as IRAK-M expression was reduced in mice re-derived into a germ-free environment, and introduction of commensal bacteria into germ-free mice induced IRAK-M expression. IL-10−/−IRAK-M−/− mice exhibited exacerbated colitis with increased inflammatory cytokine gene expression. Therefore, this study indicates that intestinal microflora stimulate the colitogenic immune system through TLR and negative regulation of TLR signaling is essential in maintaining intestinal homeostasis.