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The octapeptide NAP is well known for its neuroprotective properties. We here investigated whether NAP treatment could alleviate pro-inflammatory immune responses during experimental subacute ileitis. To address this, mice with a human gut microbiota were perorally infected with one cyst of Toxoplasma gondii (day 0) and subjected to intraperitoneal synthetic NAP treatment from day 1 until day 8 postinfection (p.i.). Whereas placebo (PLC) control animals displayed subacute ileitis at day 9 p.i., NAP-treated mice exhibited less pronounced pro-inflammatory immune responses as indicated by lower numbers of intestinal mucosal T and B lymphocytes and lower interferon (IFN)-γ concentrations in mesenteric lymph nodes. The NAP-induced anti-inflammatory effects were not restricted to the intestinal tract but could also be observed in extra-intestinal including systemic compartments, given that pro-inflammatory cytokines were lower in liver, kidney, and lung following NAP as compared to PLC application, whereas at day 9 p.i., colonic and serum interleukin (IL)-10 concentrations were higher in the former as compared to the latter. Remarkably, probiotic commensal bifidobacterial loads were higher in the ileal lumen of NAP as compared to PLC-treated mice with ileitis. Our findings thus further support that NAP might be regarded as future treatment option directed against intestinal inflammation.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Markus M. Heimesaat, André Fischer, Anja A. Kühl, Ulf B. Göbel, Illana Gozes and Stefan Bereswill

The octapeptide NAP has been shown to exert neuroprotective properties. Here, we investigated potential anti-inflammatory effects of NAP in an acute ileitis model. To address this, C57BL/6j mice were perorally infected with Toxoplasma gondii (day 0). Within 1 week postinfection (p.i.), placebo (PLC)-treated mice developed acute ileitis due to Th1-type immune responses. Mice that were subjected to intraperitoneal NAP treatment from day 1 until day 6 p.i., however, developed less distinct macroscopic and microscopic disease as indicated by less body weight loss, less distinct histopathological ileal changes, and lower ileal apoptotic, but higher proliferating cell numbers, less abundance of neutrophils, macrophages, monocytes, and T lymphocytes, but higher numbers of regulatory T cells in the ileal mucosa and lamina propria, and lower concentrations of pro-inflammatory mediators in the ilea as compared to PLC controls at day 7 p.i. Remarkably, NAP-mediated anti-inflammatory effects could also be observed in extra-intestinal compartments including liver and spleen. Strikingly, lower MCP-1, TNF, and IL-12p70 serum concentrations in NAP as compared to PLC-treated mice at day 7 p.i. indicate a pronounced systemic anti-inflammatory effect of NAP in acute ileitis. These findings provide first evidence for NAP as a potential novel treatment option in intestinal inflammation.

Open access