The octapeptide NAP has been shown to exert neuroprotective properties and reduce neuro-inflammatory responses. The aim of the present study was to investigate if NAP provides anti-inflammatory effects in acute murine colitis. To address this, C57BL/6 j mice were challenged with 3.5% dextran sulfate sodium from day 0 until day 6 to induce colitis, either treated intraperitoneally with NAP or placebo (NaCl 0.9%) from day 1 until day 6 post-induction (p.i.) and subjected to in depth macroscopic, microscopic and immunological evaluations. Whereas NAP application did not alleviate macroscopic (i.e. clinical) sequelae of colitis, lower numbers of apoptotic, but higher counts of proliferating/regenerating colonic epithelial cells could be observed in NAP as compared to placebo treated mice at day 7 p.i. Furthermore, lower numbers of adaptive immune cells such as T lymphocytes and regulatory T cells were abundant in the colonic mucosa and lamina propria upon NAP versus placebo treatment that were accompanied by less colonic secretion of pro-inflammatory mediators including IFN-γ and nitric oxide at day 7 p.i. In mesenteric lymph nodes, pro-inflammatory IFN-γ TNF and IL-6 concentrations were increased in placebo, but not NAP treated mice at day 7 p.i., whereas interestingly, elevated anti-inflammatory IL-10 levels could be observed in NAP treated mice only. The assessed anti-inflammatory properties of NAP were not restricted to the intestinal tract, given that in extra-intestinal compartments such as the kidneys, IFN-γ levels increased in placebo, but not NAP treated mice upon colitis induction. NAP induced effects were accompanied by distinct changes in intestinal microbiota composition, given that colonic luminal loads of bifidobacteria, regarded as anti-inflammatory, “health-promoting” commensal species, were two orders of magnitude higher in NAP as compared to placebo treated mice and even naive controls. In conclusion, NAP alleviates intestinal and extra-intestinal pro-inflammatory sequelae of acute experimental colitis and may provide novel treatment options of intestinal inflammatory diseases in humans.
- Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP)
- Acute colitis
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Gut-brain axis
- Immunomodulatory properties