Inflammatory arthritis disrupts gut resolution mechanisms, promoting barrier breakdown by Porphyromonas gingivalis

JCI Insight. 2019 Jul 11;4(13):e125191. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.125191.


Rheumatoid arthritis is linked with altered host immune responses and severe joint destruction. Recent evidence suggests that loss of gut homeostasis and barrier breach by pathobionts, including Porphyromonas gingivalis, may influence disease severity. The mechanism(s) leading to altered gut homeostasis and barrier breakdown in inflammatory arthritis are poorly understood. In the present study, we found a significant reduction in intestinal concentrations of several proresolving mediators during inflammatory arthritis, including downregulation of the gut-protective mediator resolvin D5n-3 DPA (RvD5n-3 DPA). This was linked with increased metabolism of RvD5n-3 DPA to its inactive 17-oxo metabolite. We also found downregulation of IL-10 expression in the gut of arthritic mice that was coupled with a reduction in IL-10 and IL-10 receptor (IL-10R) in lamina propria macrophages. These changes were linked with a decrease in the number of mucus-producing goblet cells and tight junction molecule expression in the intestinal epithelium of arthritic mice when compared with naive mice. P. gingivalis inoculation further downregulated intestinal RvD5n-3 DPA and Il-10 levels and the expression of gut tight junction proteins. RvD5n-3 DPA, but not its metabolite 17-oxo-RvD5n-3 DPA, increased the expression of both IL-10 and IL-10R in macrophages via the upregulation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist l-kynurenine. Administration of RvD5n-3 DPA to arthritic P. gingivalis-inoculated mice increased intestinal Il-10 expression, restored gut barrier function, and reduced joint inflammation. Together, these findings uncover mechanisms in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, where disruption of the gut RvD5n-3 DPA-IL-10 axis weakens the gut barrier, which becomes permissive to the pathogenic actions of the pathobiont P. gingivalis.

Keywords: Arthritis; Immunology; Inflammation; Macrophages; Molecular pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / microbiology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / microbiology
  • Bacterial Translocation / immunology*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / immunology
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / immunology*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / pathogenicity
  • Receptors, Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms


  • Receptors, Interleukin-10
  • resolvin D5
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids