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Study of the immunomodulatory potential of Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in experimental intestinal inflammation

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Vanessa Beatriz Freitas Alves
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Cristina Ribeiro de Barros Cardoso; Lucia Helena Faccioli; Fabiani Gai Frantz; Carlo José Freire de Oliveira; Rafael Simone Saia
Advisor: Cristina Ribeiro de Barros Cardoso

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are multifactorial diseases whose etiology involves genetic susceptibility, environmental factors, dysbiosis and exacerbated activation of the immune system in the gut. These diseases have also been associated to lower levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a precursor of various steroid hormones, related to modulation of immune responses. However, the precise mechanisms that link the actions of this hormone with protection or susceptibility to Crohn\'s disease or ulcerative colitis are still not fully understood. Thus, this project aimed to understand the immunomodulatory role of exogenous DHEA in vitro and in vivo in experimental intestinal inflammation induced by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) in C57BL/6 mice. Initially, in vitro, DHEA inhibited the proliferation of spleen cells in a dose dependent way on the concentrations of 5?M, 50?M and 100?M, with decreased production of IFN-?. This hormone was not toxic to myeloid lineage cells, although it caused necrosis of leukocytes at the highest doses (50?M and 100?M), which may have influenced the decrease of the cytokines in vitro. Mice treated with DHEA (40 mg / kg) were evaluated at the induction phase of the disease (day 6) and during tissue repair, when animals exposed to DSS and DHEA for 9 days were maintained in the absence these drugs until the day 15. There was decrease of postmortem score, improved weight and clinical signs of intestinal inflammation, besides reduced peripheral blood monocytes on day 6, together with an increase in circulating neutrophils in tissue repair phase (15 days). Supplementation with DHEA also led to a reduction in cellularity of the lamina propria (LP) and to the restoration of normal length of the gut. The use of this hormone also decreased the expression of of IL-6 and TGF-? mRNA, while IL-13 was augmented in the colon of mice during the induction phase of the disease, a fact probably related to attenuation of intestinal inflammation. Furthermore, there was accumulation of CD4+ and CD8+ cells in the spleen along with decreased CD4+ leukocytes in mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN), indicating retention of CD4+ cells in the spleen after use of DHEA. The treatment was also able to increase the frequency of CD4+ cells producing IL-4 and decrease CD4+IFN-?+ in spleen, with reduced frequency of CD4+IL-17+ in the MLN, suggesting a role for DHEA on the balance of Th1/Th2/Th17 responses related colitis. In addition, splenocytes of mice treated with DHEA and exposed to DSS became hiporresponsives as seen by decreased proliferation after re-stimulation in vitro. Finally, DHEA was able to act on the metabolism of treated mice, leading to decreased total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in serum during the induction phase of the disease, without generating any liver dysfunction. Thus, we concluded that DHEA acts by balancing the exacerbated immune responses, minimizing local and systemic damages caused by intestinal inflammation induced by DSS. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/17265-4 - Study of the immunomodulatory potential of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in experimental intestinal inflammation
Grantee:Vanessa Beatriz Freitas Alves
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate