A novel non-invasive method to detect RELM beta transcript in gut barrier related changes during a gastrointestinal nematode infection


  • N. Ahmed
  • E. Heitlinger
  • N. Affinass
  • A.A. Kühl
  • N. Xenophontos
  • V.H. Jarquin
  • J. Jost
  • S. Steinfelder
  • S. Hartmann


  • Frontiers in Immunology


  • Front Immunol 10: 445


  • Currently, methods for monitoring changes of gut barrier integrity and the associated immune response via non-invasive means are limited. Therefore, we aimed to develop a novel non-invasive technique to investigate immunological host responses representing gut barrier changes in response to infection. We identified the mucous layer on feces from mice to be mainly composed of exfoliated intestinal epithelial cells. Expression of RELM-β, a gene prominently expressed in intestinal nematode infections, was used as an indicator of intestinal cellular barrier changes to infection. RELM-β was detected as early as 6 days post-infection (dpi) in exfoliated epithelial cells. Interestingly, RELM-β expression also mirrored the quality of the immune response, with higher amounts being detectable in a secondary infection and in high dose nematode infection in laboratory mice. This technique was also applicable to captured worm-infected wild house mice. We have therefore developed a novel non-invasive method reflecting gut barrier changes associated with alterations in cellular responses to a gastrointestinal nematode infection.