In this study, we examined the therapeutic effects of an immune-stimulating peptide, WKYMVm, in ulcerative colitis. The administration of WKYMVm to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-treated mice reversed decreases in body weight, bleeding score and stool score in addition to reversing DSS-induced mucosa destruction and shortened colon. The WKYMVm-induced therapeutic effect against ulcerative colitis was strongly inhibited by a formyl peptide receptor (FPR) 2 antagonist, WRWWWW, indicating the crucial role of FPR2 in this effect. Mechanistically, WKYMVm effectively decreases intestinal permeability by stimulating colon epithelial cell proliferation. WKYMVm also strongly decreases interleukin-23 and transforming growth factor-β production in the colon of DSS-treated mice. We suggest that the potent immune-modulating peptide WKYMVm and its receptor FPR2 may be useful in the development of efficient therapeutic agents against chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases.
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