Date of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Type



Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Melissa Ellermann

Second Reader

Michael Madden


Crohn's disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Interleukin-10 knockout (IL-10 KO) mice are crucial in CD research. Adherent-invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC) is a subgroup of E. coli. In one study, IL-10 KO mice colonized with AIEC developed colitis in the distal colon compared to wild-type (WT) mice. I investigated how AIEC NC101 WT affects colitis severity in IL-10 KO mice of the C57BL/6 genetic background. Similar results in both genotypes would enhance mouse strain accessibility. Germ-free C57BL6 IL-10 KO mice were divided into groups: colonized with AIEC NC101 for 12, 15, or 18 weeks, or kept germ-free. Histopathological analyses assessed crypt hyperplasia, abscesses, edema, and goblet cell loss in the colon segments. Cumulative scores were calculated, and a Kruskal-Wallis test revealed significantly higher scores in the middle and distal colon at 15 weeks post-colonization compared to the control. Germ-free mice showed no colitis indicators. These findings indicate AIEC's pro-inflammatory effect in IL-10 KO mice of the C57BL/6 genetic background, suggesting AIEC induces colitis in IL-10-deficient mice regardless of genetic background.


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