Ileal cytokine dysregulation in experimental necrotizing enterocolitis is reduced by epidermal growth factor

Melissa D. Halpern, Jessica A. Dominguez, Katerina Dvorakova, Hana Holubec, Catherine S. Williams, Yolanda G. Meza, Miriam C. Ruth, Bohuslav Dvorak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastrointestinal disease of premature infants. We have shown in previous studies that proinflammatory interleukin-18 and interleukin-12 are up-regulated in the ileum of rats with experimental NEC and that epidermal growth factor (EGF) reduces the development of disease. Here we investigated whether the protective effects of EGF are a result of changes in ileal interleukin-18, interleukin-12 and/or antiinflammatory interleukin-10. Methods: Newborn rats were artificially fed with either growth-factor-free rat milk substitute (RMS) or RMS supplemented with 500 ng/mL EGF (RMS + EGF) and NEC was induced via exposure to asphyxia and cold stress. Cytokine expression and localization were assessed using reverse-transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistology/confocal microscopy. Results: Enteral administration of EGF (RMS + EGF) decreased overproduction of interleukin-18 and increased interleukin-10 production in the ileum. Furthermore, increased interleukin-10 production was associated with up-regulation of the transcription factor Sp1 in RMS + EGF rats. Conclusions: These data suggest that EGF may reduce NEC via increased interleukin-10 and decreased interleukin-18 and that EGF-mediated up-regulation of Sp1 may account for the increased interleukin-10.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-18
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Neonatal gastrointestinal disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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