Bacteria in the gut microbiome shed microbial-associated molecule patterns (MAMPs) into the portal venous circulation, where they augment various aspects of systemic immunity via low-level stimulation. Because the liver is immediately downstream of the intestines, we proposed that gut-derived MAMPs shape liver immunity and affect Kupffer cell (KC) phenotype. Germ-free (GF), antibiotic-treated (AVMN), and conventional (CL) mice were used to study KC development, function, and response to the significant stress of cold storage, reperfusion, and orthotopic transplantation. We found that a cocktail of physiologically active MAMPs translocate into the portal circulation, with flagellin (Toll-like receptor 5 ligand) being the most plentiful and capable of promoting hepatic monocyte influx in GF mice. In MAMP-deficient GF or AVMN livers, KCs are lower in numbers, have higher phagocytic activity, and have lower major histocompatibility complex II expression. MAMP-containing CL livers harbor significantly increased KC numbers via induction of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 on liver sinusoidal endothelium. These CL KCs have a primed yet expected phenotype, with increased major histocompatibility complex class II and lower phagocytic activity that increases susceptibility to liver preservation/reperfusion injury after orthotopic transplantation. The KC number, functional activity, and maturational status are directly related to the concentration of gut-derived MAMPs and can be significantly reduced by broad-spectrum antibiotics, thereby affecting susceptibility to injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine