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Hypoxia Reduces the Transcription of Fibrotic Markers in the Intestinal Mucosa


Abstract

Intestinal fibrosis, characterized by excessive deposition of extracellular matrix proteins, is a common and severe clinical complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the mechanisms underlying fibrosis remain elusive, and currently, there are limited effective pharmacologic treatments that target the development of fibrosis. Hypoxia is one of the key microenvironmental factors influencing intestinal inflammation and has been linked to fibrosis. In the present study, we sought to elucidate the impact of hypoxia on fibrotic gene expression in the intestinal mucosa. Methods:Human volunteers, IBD patients, and dextran sulphate sodium-treated mice were exposed to hypoxia, and colonic biopsies were collected. The human intestinal epithelial cell line Caco-2, human THP-1 macrophages, and primary human gut fibroblasts were subjected to hypoxia, and changes in fibrotic gene expression were assessed. Results:Human volunteers subjected to hypoxia presented reduced transcriptional levels of fibrotic and epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers in the intestinal mucosa. IBD patients showed a trend towards a decrease in tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 protein expression. In mice, hypoxic conditions reduced the colonic expression of several collagens and matrix metalloproteinases. Hypoxic Caco-2 cells, THP-1 cells, and primary gut fibroblasts showed a significant downregulation in the expression of fibrotic and tissue remodelling factors. Conclusions:Stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factors might represent a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of IBD-associated fibrosis.

Abstract

Intestinal fibrosis, characterized by excessive deposition of extracellular matrix proteins, is a common and severe clinical complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the mechanisms underlying fibrosis remain elusive, and currently, there are limited effective pharmacologic treatments that target the development of fibrosis. Hypoxia is one of the key microenvironmental factors influencing intestinal inflammation and has been linked to fibrosis. In the present study, we sought to elucidate the impact of hypoxia on fibrotic gene expression in the intestinal mucosa. Methods:Human volunteers, IBD patients, and dextran sulphate sodium-treated mice were exposed to hypoxia, and colonic biopsies were collected. The human intestinal epithelial cell line Caco-2, human THP-1 macrophages, and primary human gut fibroblasts were subjected to hypoxia, and changes in fibrotic gene expression were assessed. Results:Human volunteers subjected to hypoxia presented reduced transcriptional levels of fibrotic and epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers in the intestinal mucosa. IBD patients showed a trend towards a decrease in tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 protein expression. In mice, hypoxic conditions reduced the colonic expression of several collagens and matrix metalloproteinases. Hypoxic Caco-2 cells, THP-1 cells, and primary gut fibroblasts showed a significant downregulation in the expression of fibrotic and tissue remodelling factors. Conclusions:Stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factors might represent a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of IBD-associated fibrosis.

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Contributors:We thank Mirjam Blattmann, Nicole obialo, and Sylvie Scharl for organizing and collecting the human colon biopsies, Mehdi Madanchi is gratefully acknowledged for his help in collecting the human subject data, We extend our special appreciation to the Zurich Integrative Rodent Physiology (ZIRP) core facility of the University of Zurich for their support in the animal experiments
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Physiology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Physiology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:29 March 2021
Deposited On:08 Apr 2021 08:36
Last Modified:19 May 2021 15:00
Publisher:Karger
ISSN:2296-9403
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1159/000513061

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