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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Jul 2019 - 2 Aug 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development


PLoS One



Pharmacological inhibition of NPY receptors illustrates dissociable features of experimental colitis in the mouse DSS model: Implications for preclinical evaluation of efficacy in an inflammatory bowel disease model.


Administration of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to rodents at varying concentrations and exposure times is commonly used to model human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Currently, the criteria used to assess IBD-like pathology seldom include surrogate measures of visceral pain. Thus, we sought to standardize the model and then identify surrogate measures to assess effects on visceral pain. We used various 4% DSS protocols and evaluated effects on weight loss, colon pathology, biochemistry, RNA signature, and open field behavior. We then tested the therapeutic potential of NPY Y1 and/or Y2 receptor inhibition for the treatment of IBD pathology using this expanded panel of outcome measures. DSS caused weight loss and colon shrinkage, increased colon NPY and inflammatory cytokine expression, altered behaviors in the open field and induced a distinct gene metasignature that significantly overlapped with that of human IBD patients. Inhibition of Y1 and/or Y2 receptors failed to improve gross colon pathology. Y1 antagonism significantly attenuated colon inflammatory cytokine expression without altering pain-associated behaviors while Y2 antagonism significantly inhibited pain-associated behaviors in spite of a limited effect on inflammatory markers. A protocol using 7 days of 4% DSS most closely modeled human IBD pathology. In this model, rearing behavior potentially represents a tool for evaluating visceral pain/discomfort that may be pharmacologically dissociable from other features of pathology. The finding that two different NPY receptor antagonists exhibited different efficacy profiles highlights the benefit of including a variety of outcome measures in IBD efficacy studies to most fully evaluate the therapeutic potential of experimental treatments.