Modulation of lymphocyte-mediated tissue repair by rational design of heterocyclic aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonists

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  15 Jan 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 3, eaay8230
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay8230


Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is an essential regulator of gut immunity and a promising therapeutic target for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Current AHR agonists are inadequate for clinical translation due to low activity, inadequate pharmacokinetics, or toxicity. We synthesized a structurally diverse library and used integrated computational and experimental studies to discover mechanisms governing ligand-receptor interaction and to design potent drug leads PY109 and PY108, which display physiochemical drug-likeness properties, desirable pharmacokinetic profiles, and low toxicity. In a murine model of dextran sulfate sodium–induced colitis, orally administered compounds increase interleukin-22 (IL-22) production and accelerate mucosal healing by modulating mucosal adaptive and innate lymphoid cells. AHR and IL-22 pathway induction was confirmed using RNA sequencing and characterization of the lymphocyte protein-protein interaction network. Significant induction of IL-22 was also observed using human T cells from patients with IBD. Our findings support rationally designed AHR agonists for IBD therapy.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances