Butyrate inhibit collagen-induced arthritis via Treg/IL-10/Th17 axis

Int Immunopharmacol. 2019 Mar;68:226-233. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2019.01.018. Epub 2019 Jan 16.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder demanding the development of novel therapeutic strategy. Butyrate is a functional short-chain fatty acid produced by the anaerobic intestinal microbiota. This study aimed to investigate the attenuation of butyrate on RA. The collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse model was established and butyrate was administered in drinking water along with the collagen immunization. The histopathological features, clinical score, paw swelling, as well as the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and IL-17A were measured to determine the amelioration of butyrate on arthritis. The differentiation of Treg cells and Th17 cells in the splenic cells was assessed by flow cytometry. The expression of Foxp3, IL-10, Rorγt and IL-17A were detected by RT-PCR and FACS immunostaining. Anti-IL10R antibody was used in the CIA and CD4+ cell cultures to mediate the effects of butyrate. Butyrate significantly inhibited expressions of IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-17A, but promoted the expression of IL-10. Butyrate also increased systematical Treg cells and reduced Th17 cells. Mechanism study revealed that butyrate directly enhanced the polarization of Treg cells but not Th17 cells. All effects of butyrate on RA were inversed by the co-administered anti-IL10R antibody. This study showed that butyrate administration inhibited arthritis in CIA mice model, suppressed the expression of inflammatory cytokines. The modulation may be mediated the differentiation of CD4 T cells towards Treg cells, which produce anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, and thus influenced the function of Th17 cells.

Keywords: Butyrate; IL-10; Rheumatoid arthritis; Th17 cells; Treg cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Experimental* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Experimental* / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental* / pathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / pathology
  • Butyrates* / pharmacology
  • Butyrates* / therapeutic use
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Female
  • Foot Joints / drug effects
  • Foot Joints / pathology
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / drug effects
  • Th17 Cells / immunology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Butyrates
  • Cytokines