Effect of TNBS-induced colitis on enteric neuronal subpopulations in adult zebrafish


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and is characterized by periods of acute inflammation and remission. Therapeutic management of IBD is still problematic, because of incomplete understanding its pathogenesis. This study focuses on the effect of 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis on changes in enteric neuronal subpopulations in adult zebrafish. These changes are suggested to be related to the altered neuro-immune interactions and GI motility, and in IBD pathogenesis. New insights into neuroplasticity will be instrumental in finding appropriate therapeutic treatments. TNBS was intraluminally administered in the distal intestine (DI) of anesthetized adult zebrafish. A histological time course of the intestinal inflammatory response was created to establish optimal TNBS concentration and acute inflammation phase. Using double immunolabelling on whole mounts, the effect of inflammation on neuronal populations was analyzed. Based on intestinal wall thickening, epithelial fold disruption, reduced goblet cell number, and eosinophil infiltration, our analysis indicated that the optimal TNBS concentration (320 mM in 25% ethanol) inducing non-lethal inflammation reached a peak at 6 hours post-induction. The inflammatory response returned to baseline values at 3 days post-induction. At the acute inflammation phase, no influence on the distribution or proportion of nitrergic neurons was observed, while only the proportion of cholinergic neurons was significantly reduced in the DI. The proportion of serotonergic neurons was significantly increased in the entire intestine during inflammation. This study describes a method of TNBS-induced colitis in the adult zebrafish. Given that the acute inflammation phase is accompanied by neuroplasticity comparable to changes observed in IBD patients, and the unique and versatile characteristics of the zebrafish, allows this model to be used alongside IBD animal models to unravel IBD pathology and to test new IBD therapies.



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Ethics Approval
All experimental procedures were approved by the Ethical Committee of the University of Antwerp (ECD2012-67).
TNBS-induced colitis, zebrafish, enteric nervous system, serotonergic neurons, cholinergic neurons, nitrergic neurons
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How to Cite
Uyttebroek, L., Pype, C., Hubens, G., Timmermans, J.-P., & van Nassauw, L. (2020). Effect of TNBS-induced colitis on enteric neuronal subpopulations in adult zebrafish. European Journal of Histochemistry, 64(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/ejh.2020.3161