Research ArticleHEALTH AND MEDICINE

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

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

Abstract

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.

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