Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor improves intestinal barrier function and reduces mortality in a murine model of peritonitis

Jixin Yang, Andrei Radulescu, Chun Liang Chen, Hong Yi Zhang, Iyore O. James, Gail E. Besner

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7 Scopus citations


Background: The morbidity and mortality associated with bacterial peritonitis remain high. Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is a potent intestinal cytoprotective agent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of HB-EGF in a model of murine peritonitis. Methods: HB-EGF(-/-) knockout (KO) mice and their HB-EGF(+/+) wild-type (WT) counterparts were subjected to sham operation, cecal ligation and puncture (CLP), or CLP with HB-EGF treatment (800 μg/kg IP daily). Villous length, intestinal permeability, intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) apoptosis, bacterial load in peritoneal fluid (PF) and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN), inflammatory cytokine levels, and survival were determined. Results: After exposure to CLP, HB-EGF KO mice had significantly shorter villi (1.37 ± 0.13 vs 1.96 ± 0.4 relative units; P <.03), increased intestinal permeability (17.01 ± 5.18 vs 11.50 ± 4.67 nL/min/cm2; P <.03), increased IEC apoptotic indices (0.0093 ± 0.0033 vs 0.0016 ± 0.0014; P <.01), and increased bacterial counts in PF (25,313 ± 17,558 vs 11,955 ± 6,653 colony forming units [CFU]/mL; P <.05) and MLN (19,009 ± 11,200 vs 5,948 ± 2,988 CFU/mL/g; P <.01) compared with WT mice. Administration of HB-EGF to WT and HB-EGF KO mice exposed to CLP led to significantly increased villous length and decreased intestinal permeability, IEC apoptosis and bacterial counts in MLN (P <.05). Survival of HB-EGF KO mice subjected to CLP was significantly improved with administration of HB-EGF (P <.05). Conclusion: HB-EGF gene KO increases susceptibility to peritonitis-induced intestinal injury, which can be reversed by administration of HB-EGF. These results support a protective role of HB-EGF in peritonitis-induced sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-62
Number of pages11
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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