Background: PEPT1 was proposed to be expressed only in inflamed colonic tissues in which it could contribute to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) development by transporting bacterial peptides, such as muramyl dipeptide (MDP), that activate intracellular pattern recognition receptors, such as the nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain 2. To better define the pathological relevance of this transporter, we analyzed PEPT1 expression during intestinal inflammation and studied the susceptibility of Pept1-deficient (Pept1−/−) mice to experimental colitis.
Methods: Wild-type and Pept1−/− mice were treated with dextran sulfate sodium and 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid to induce colitis, and MDP-induced cytokine expression was studied in colonic tissue cultures. PEPT1 expression was characterized in mouse models of Crohn's disease–like ileitis (TnfΔARE/WT) or colitis (Il-10−/−, Il-10XTlr2−/−) and endoscopic tissue samples from descending colon of patients with IBD (n = 11) and controls (n = 17). Moreover, the prevalence of the PEPT1 single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2297322 was tested in German patients with IBD (n = 458) and controls (n = 452).
Results: PEPT1 expression was consistently reduced under condition of acute or chronic experimental inflammation. Wild-type and Pept1−/− mice revealed comparable susceptibility to dextran sulfate sodium–induced and 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid–induced colitis, and MDP-induced cytokine expression was PEPT1-independent. PEPT1 expression levels were also decreased in descending colon of patients with IBD during acute inflammation, but the rs2297322 single-nucleotide polymorphism was not associated with IBD susceptibility in the German cohort.
Conclusions: PEPT1 expression is reduced during intestinal inflammation and PEPT1 is neither required for MDP-induced immune response nor is the PEPT1 rs2297322 single-nucleotide polymorphism associated with IBD susceptibility in our German cohort. These data strongly argue against a primary role of PEPT1 in the initiation or progression of IBD.