Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-dependent expansion of T-regulatory cells maintains mucosal healing in ulcerative colitis.Therap Adv Gastroenterol 2018; 11:1756284818793558TA
Dendritic cell (DC)-derived indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) degrades tryptophan to kynurenine, which promotes conversion of inflammatory T cells in immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs). We analyzed the significance of the IDO:Treg axis for inducing and maintaining mucosal healing in ulcerative colitis (UC).
Dextran sodium sulphate (DSS)-induced colitis in BALB/c mice (model for mucosal healing) and C57BL/6 mice (model for persistent disease) was used. Serum, fecal samples and colon-infiltrating immune cells of 65 patients with UC with mucosal healing or persistent colitis were analyzed.
Significantly higher serum levels of kynurenine and downregulated inflammatory cytokines were noticed in DSS-treated BALB/c mice compared with C57BL/6 mice. Increased IDO activity and attenuated capacity for antigen presentation and production of inflammatory cytokines, observed in BALB/c DCs, was followed by a significantly lower number of inflammatory T helper 1 (Th1) and Th17 cells and a notably increased number of Tregs in the colons of DSS-treated BALB/c mice. DCs and Tregs were crucially important for the maintenance of mucosal healing since their depletion aggravated colitis. Mucosal healing, followed by an increase in kynurenine and intestinal Tregs, was re-established when BALB/c DCs were transferred into DC-depleted or Treg-depleted DSS-treated BALB/c mice. This phenomenon was completely abrogated by the IDO inhibitor. Significantly higher serum and fecal levels of kynurenine, accompanied by an increased presence of intestinal Tregs, were noticed in patients with UC with mucosal healing and negatively correlated with disease severity, fecal calprotectin, colon-infiltrating interferon γ and interleukin-17-producing cells, serum and fecal levels of inflammatory cytokines.
IDO-dependent expansion of endogenous Tregs should be further explored as a new approach for the induction and maintenance of mucosal healing in patients with UC.