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PLOS ONE  2012 

Bacteria Penetrate the Inner Mucus Layer before Inflammation in the Dextran Sulfate Colitis Model

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012238

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Protection of the large intestine with its enormous amount of commensal bacteria is a challenge that became easier to understand when we recently could describe that colon has an inner attached mucus layer devoid of bacteria (Johansson et al. (2008) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 15064–15069). The bacteria are thus kept at a distance from the epithelial cells and lack of this layer, as in Muc2-null mice, allow bacteria to contact the epithelium. This causes colitis and later on colon cancer, similar to the human disease Ulcerative Colitis, a disease that still lacks a pathogenetic explanation. Dextran Sulfate (DSS) in the drinking water is the most widely used animal model for experimental colitis. In this model, the inflammation is observed after 3–5 days, but early events explaining why DSS causes this has not been described.


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