In the experimental models of intestinal inflammation and humans with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), increased levels of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP-2 and -9 (also referred to as gelatinase A and B, respectively), in inflamed tissue sites can be detected. In the presented study, we investigated potential beneficial effects exerted by doxycycline nonselectively blocking MMPs and the selective gelatinase inhibitor RO28-2653 in acute DSS colitis. Treatment with either compound for 8 days ameliorated clinical colitis pathology with a superior outcome in RO28-2653-treated animals. As compared to placebo controls, histopathological changes in the colon were less distinct following MMP blockage and IL-6 secretion in ex vivo biopsies was downregulated, paralleled by a diminished influx of pro-inflammatory immune cells and lack of overgrowth of the colonic lumen by potentially pro-inflammatory Escherichia coli of the commensal colon flora.
We conclude that selective gelatinase inhibition not only exerts beneficial effects by disrupting the vicious cycle of positive feedback between immune cell stimulation and MMP induction but also prevents overgrowth of the colonic lumen by pro-inflammatory E. coli despite a lack of direct anti-bacterial properties, thus unaffecting the commensal gut microbiota. These findings put RO28-2653 into a center stage for development of intervention strategies in human IBD.