Schistosoma japonicum peptide SJMHE1 inhibits acute and chronic colitis induced by dextran sulfate sodium in mice

Parasit Vectors. 2021 Sep 6;14(1):455. doi: 10.1186/s13071-021-04977-y.


Background: Harnessing helminth-based immunoregulation is a novel therapeutic strategy for many immune dysfunction disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). We previously identified a small molecule peptide from Schistosoma japonicum and named it SJMHE1. SJMHE1 can suppress delayed-type hypersensitivity, collagen-induced arthritis and asthma in mice. In this study, we assessed the effects of SJMHE1 on dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced acute and chronic colitis.

Methods: Acute and chronic colitis were induced in C57BL/6 mice by DSS, following which the mice were injected with an emulsifier SJMHE1 or phosphate-buffered saline. The mice were then examined for body weight loss, disease activity index, colon length, histopathological changes, cytokine expression and helper T (Th) cell subset distribution.

Results: SJMHE1 treatment significantly suppressed DSS-induced acute and chronic colitis, improved disease activity and pathological damage to the colon and modulated the expression of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in splenocytes and the colon. In addition, SJMHE1 treatment reduced the percentage of Th1 and Th17 cells and increased the percentage of Th2 and regulatory T (Treg) cells in the splenocytes and mesenteric lymph nodes of mice with acute colitis. Similarly, SJMHE1 treatment upregulated the expression of interleukin-10 (IL-10) mRNA, downregulated the expression of IL-17 mRNA and modulated the Th cell balance in mice with chronic colitis.

Conclusions: Our data show that SJMHE1 provided protection against acute and chronic colitis by restoring the immune balance. As a small molecule, SJMHE1 might be a novel agent for the treatment of IBDs without immunogenicity concerns.

Keywords: Acute and chronic colitis; Inhibit; SJMHE1; Schistosoma japonicum peptide.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / immunology
  • Colitis / prevention & control*
  • Colon / drug effects*
  • Colon / immunology
  • Colon / parasitology
  • Colon / pathology
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dextran Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Peptides / administration & dosage*
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Schistosoma japonicum / chemistry*
  • Schistosoma japonicum / drug effects*
  • Schistosoma japonicum / genetics
  • Schistosoma japonicum / immunology
  • Schistosomiasis japonica / immunology*
  • Schistosomiasis japonica / prevention & control*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Peptides
  • Dextran Sulfate