SCOPE: The human/microbiota cross-talk is partially mediated by bacteria-derived peptides like Serine-Threonine peptide (STp), which is resistant to gut proteolysis, is found in the human healthy colon and induces regulatory properties on gut dendritic cells (DCs); here we characterized human gut DC in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients and studied the effect of STp on their properties.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Human colonic DC from healthy controls and UC patients were isolated, conditioned for 24 h +/- STp and characterized by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. Expression of immature DC markers DC-SIGN and ILT3, and Toll-like receptors were increased on gut UC-DC. Langerin (involved in phagocytosis), lymph node homing marker CCR7, and activation markers CD40/CD80/CD86 were decreased in UC. Gut DC had restricted stimulatory capacity for T-cells in UC. Conditioning of DC with STp in vitro reduced Toll-like receptor expression, increased CD40 and CD80 expression, and restored their stimulatory capacity.
CONCLUSION: Colonic DCs display an abnormal immature phenotype in UC, which was partially restored following STp treatment. Bacteria-derived metabolites, like STp, seem to have a role in gut homeostasis that is missing in UC so they might lead a new era of probiotic products setting the basis for nondrug dietary therapy in inflammatory bowel disease.