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BioMed Central Gastroenterology


The loss of homeostasis is a hallmark of inflammatory bowel disease. Oral infection of susceptible mice with Toxoplasma gondii results in an acute lethal ileitis characterized by increased interferon γ, tumor necrosis factor α, and inducible nitric oxide synthase; homeostasis results from transforming growth factor β production by intraepithelial lymphocytes. The synthetic oleanane triterpenoid 2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9-dien-28-oic acid (CDDO) is a potent anti-inflammatory molecule previously shown in vitro to suppress the de novo synthesis of inducible nitric oxide synthase and to induce the transcription and activation of genes from the transforming growth factor β signaling pathway. We evaluated the immune response in the small intestine and by intraepithelial lymphocytes after a single intraperitoneal dose of CDDO at the time of T. gondii oral infection. We abrogated the homeostatic effects of CDDO by blocking transforming growth factor β in vivo.