Live Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in an apical anaerobic model of the intestinal epithelial barrier

D. Ulluwishewa, R.C. Anderson, W. Young, W.C. McNabb, P. van Baarlen, P.J. Moughan, J.M. Wells, N.C. Roy

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, an abundant member of the human commensal microbiota, has been proposed to have a protective role in the intestine. However, it is an obligate anaerobe, difficult to co-culture in viable form with oxygen-requiring intestinal cells. To overcome this limitation, a unique apical anaerobic model of the intestinal barrier, which enabled co-culture of live obligate anaerobes with the human intestinal cell line Caco-2, was developed. Caco-2 cells remained viable and maintained an intact barrier for at least 12¿h, consistent with gene expression data, which suggested Caco-2 cells had adapted to survive in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere. Live F.¿prausnitzii cells, but not ultraviolet (UV)-killed F.¿prausnitzii, increased the permeability of mannitol across the epithelial barrier. Gene expression analysis showed inflammatory mediators to be expressed at lower amounts in Caco-2 cells exposed to live F.¿prausnitzii than UV-killed F.¿prausnitzii, This, consistent with previous reports, implies that live F.¿prausnitzii produces an anti-inflammatory compound in the culture supernatant, demonstrating the value of a physiologically relevant co-culture system that allows obligate anaerobic bacteria to remain viable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-240
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • necrosis-factor-alpha
  • crohns-disease
  • fusobacterium-prausnitzii
  • celiac-disease
  • hypoxia
  • permeability
  • expression
  • microbiota
  • diversity
  • inhibition


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