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Propionate has protective and anti-inflammatory effects on the blood–brain barrier

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Title: Propionate has protective and anti-inflammatory effects on the blood–brain barrier
Authors: Hoyles, L
Snelling, T
Umlai, UK
Nicholson, JK
Carding, SR
Glen, RC
McArthur, S
Item Type: Poster
Abstract: Production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) from dietary substrates by the gut microbiota is associated with health, with these metabolites influencing the host via the ‘gut–brain axis’. Micromolar quantities of microbially derived SCFAs are taken up from the gut and reach systemic circulation, where they can influence host gene expression through a variety of largely unknown mechanisms. The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is the major interface between the circulation and central nervous system, and is critically involved in the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory disorders such as stroke and vascular dementia. We hypothesized exposure of the BBB to SCFAs influences barrier integrity and function. To test our hypothesis, we investigated the in vitro effects of a physiologically relevant concentration (1 μM) of propionate upon the human immortalised cerebromicrovascular endothelial cell line hCMEC/D3. Propionate is produced by the microbiota from dietary glucans, and is biologically active via the G protein coupled receptors FFAR2 and FFAR3. It is a highly potent FFAR2 agonist (agonist activity 3.99) and has close to optimal ligand efficiency (-ΔG=1.19 kcal mol-1 atom-1) for this receptor. Notably, FFAR3 is expressed on the vascular endothelium and a likely target for propionate in the BBB. After confirming the presence of FFAR3 on hCMEC/D3 cells, we undertook an unbiased transcriptomic analysis of confluent hCMEC/D3 monolayers treated or not for 24 h with 1 μM propionate, supported by in vitro validation of key findings and assessment of functional endothelial permeability barrier properties. Propionate treatment had a significant (PFDR < 0.1) effect on the expression of 1136 genes: 553 upregulated, 583 downregulated. Propionate inhibited several inflammation-associated pathways: namely, TLR-specific signalling, NFkappaB signalling, and cytosolic DNA-sensing. Functional validation of these findings confirmed the down-regulation of TLR signalling by propionate, achieved primarily through down-regulation of endothelial CD14 expression. Accordingly, propionate prevented LPS-induced increases in paracellular permeability to 70 kDa FITC-dextran and loss of transendothelial electrical resistance. Enrichr analysis indicated the activation by propionate of the NFE2L2 (NRF2)-driven protective response against oxidative stress. Confirming these data, propionate limited free reactive oxygen species induction by the mitochondrial respiratory inhibitor rotenone. Together, these data strongly suggest the SCFA propionate contributes to maintaining BBB integrity and protecting against inflammatory challenge by downregulating BBB responsiveness. In addition to its well-described effects on cholesterol metabolism, maintenance of propionate levels in the circulation may be an additional mechanism whereby a glucan-containing diet protects against neurovascular disease.
Issue Date: 13-Sep-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/52672
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Authors
Sponsor/Funder: Medical Research Council (MRC)
Alzheimer's Research UK
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Funder's Grant Number: MR/L01632X/1
Conference Name: Exploring Human Host-Microbiome Interactions in Health and Disease
Appears in Collections:Department of Surgery and Cancer