Denosumab Regulates Gut Microbiota Composition and Cytokines in Dinitrobenzene Sulfonic Acid (DNBS)-Experimental Colitis

Front Microbiol. 2020 Jun 25:11:1405. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.01405. eCollection 2020.


The pro-inflammatory mediator receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL) plays a significant role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis; however, its role in inflammatory bowel disease is unknown. Genome-wide association meta-analysis for Crohn's disease (CD) identified a variant near the TNFSF11 gene that encodes RANKL and CD risk allele increased expression of RANKL in specific cell lines. This study aims to elucidate if the RANKL inhibitor denosumab can reduce the severity of experimental colitis and modify the gut microbiota composition using murine dinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (DNBS)-experimental model of colitis mimicking CD. In colitic conditions, denosumab treatment significantly decreased the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α within the colonic mucosa. Moreover, colitis was accompanied by disruption of gut microbiota, and preventative treatment with denosumab modulated this disruption. Denosumab treatment also modified the alpha- and beta diversity of colonic mucosa and fecal microbiota. These results provide a rationale for considering denosumab as a future potential therapy in CD; however, more detailed experimental and clinical studies are warranted.

Keywords: IBD; TNF; gut microbes; immune responses; immunotherapy.