Subchronic mild noise stress increases HRP permeability in rat small intestine in vitro.
Recently we reported an increased trans- and paracellular protein permeability in rat small intestine after acute cold restraint stress. In the present study, we applied randomized 95- or 105-dB white noise pulses during 45 min/h, 12 h/day, duration 8 days, as a milder, but more chronic stressor to male rats. At 8 days before the noise experiments, 50% of the animals were cannulated in the vena cava for blood sampling during the experimental period. The other 50% of the animals were sacrificed at Day 9, segments of ileum were mounted in Ussing chambers and perfused at 37 degrees C. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was added mucosally, serosal appearance was detected enzymatically and tissues were fixed for electron microscopy. In the animals exposed to 95-dB noise, plasma corticosterone levels were enhanced twofold compared to controls, and ileal HRP flux was enhanced twofold. Electron micrographs of tissue from stressed or control animals showed no detectable paracellular staining of HRP. Quantification of HRP-containing endosomes in enterocytes revealed a twofold increase in endosome number in the animals exposed to 95-db noise indicating that the increased HRP permeability was primarily due to increased endocytosis. In contrast to the animals exposed to 95-dB noise, rats exposed to 105-dB noise showed no increase in corticosterone levels and ileal HRP fluxes were not significantly different from controls. We conclude that mild subchronic noise stress may cause a decrease in intestinal barrier function by increased transcytosis of luminal antigens.