Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide—A neuropeptide as novel treatment option for subacute ileitis in mice harboring a human gut microbiota

Stefan Bereswill, Ulrike Escher, Anne Grunau, Anja A. Kühl, Ildiko R. Dunay, Andrea Tamas, Dora Reglodi, Markus M. Heimesaat

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Abstract

The neuropeptide Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is well-known for its important functions in immunity and inflammation. Data regarding anti-inflammatory properties of PACAP in the intestinal tract are limited, however. In our present preclinical intervention study we addressed whether PACAP treatment could alleviate experimental subacute ileitis mimicking human gut microbiota conditions. Therefore, secondary abioitic mice were subjected to human fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and perorally infected with low-dose Toxoplasma gondii to induce subacute ileitis on day 0. From day 3 until day 8 post-infection, mice were either treated with synthetic PACAP38 or placebo. At day 9 post-infection, placebo, but not PACAP treated mice exhibited overt macroscopic sequelae of intestinal immunopathology. PACAP treatment further resulted in less distinct apoptotic responses in ileal and colonic epithelia that were accompanied by lower T cell numbers in the mucosa and lamina propria and less secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines in intestinal ex vivo biopsies. Notably, ileitis-associated gut microbiota shifts were less distinct in PACAP as compared to placebo treated mice. Inflammation-ameliorating effects of PACAP were not restricted to the intestines, but could also be observed in extra-intestinal including systemic compartments as indicated by lower apoptotic cell counts and less pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion in liver and lungs taken from PACAP treated as compared to placebo control mice, which also held true for markedly lower serum TNF and IL-6 concentrations in the former as compared to the latter. Our preclinical intervention study provides strong evidence that synthetic PACAP alleviates subacute ileitis and extra-intestinal including systemic sequelae of T cell-driven immunopathology. These findings further support PACAP as a novel treatment option for intestinal inflammation including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Original languageEnglish
Article number554
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Volume10
Issue numberMAR
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Gut-brain axis
  • Human fecal microbiota transplantation
  • Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP)
  • Preclinical intervention study
  • Subacute ileitis
  • Th1-type immunopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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