Porcine β-defensin 2 attenuates inflammation and mucosal lesions in dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis

Feifei Han, Haiwen Zhang, Xi Xia, Haitao Xiong, Deguang Song, Xin Zong, Yizhen Wang
Journal of Immunology 2015 February 15, 194 (4): 1882-93
Intestinal permeability plays a critical role in the etiopathogenesis of ulcerative colitis. Defensins, including porcine β-defensin (pBD)2, are crucial antimicrobial peptides for gut protection owing to their antibacterial and immunomodulatory activities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the protective effects of pBD2 on mucosal injury and the disruption of the epithelial barrier during the pathological process of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. The effects and mechanism of pBD2 were evaluated both using a DSS-induced C57BL/6 mouse model and, in vitro, using Caco-2 and RAW264.7 cells. DSS-induced colitis was characterized by higher disease activity index, shortened colon length, elevated activities of myeloperoxidase and eosinophil peroxidase, histologic evidence of inflammation, and increased expression levels of TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8. pBD2 increased the expression of zonula occludens-1, zonula occludens-2, claudin-1, mucin-1, and mucin-2 mRNA and proteins, and it decreased permeability to FITC-D, as well as apoptosis, in DSS-treated mice. pBD2 also decreased inflammatory infiltrates of the colon epithelium. In Caco-2 cells, pBD2 increased transepithelial electrical resistance and mucin mRNA expression, and it decreased the permeability of FITC-D while preserving the structural integrity of the tight junctions. The effects of pBD2 appeared to be through upregulation of the expression of genes associated with tight junctions and mucins, and by suppressing DSS-induced increases in inflammation, inducible NO synthase, cyclooxygenase-2, and apoptosis. These results show that pBD2 improves DSS-induced changes in mucosal lesions and paracellular permeability, possibly by affecting the activation of NF-κB signaling. The present study demonstrates that intrarectal administration of pBD2 may be a novel preventive option for ulcerative colitis.

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