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Gastroenterology. 2006 Dec;131(6):1786-98. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

Inhibition of Smad7 with a specific antisense oligonucleotide facilitates TGF-beta1-mediated suppression of colitis.

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  • 1Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.



Defective transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 signaling due to high levels of Smad7 is a feature of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this study, we analyzed the effect of reducing Smad7 levels with antisense oligonucleotide on mouse models of colitis.


Mucosal samples taken from colitic tissue of mice with colitis due to either haptenating reagents (trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid [TNBS] or oxazolone) or to transfer of T cells (SCID transfer colitis) were analyzed for Smad3 and/or Smad7 expression by Western blotting and, in some cases, content of TGF-beta1 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The effect of oral Smad7 antisense oligonucleotide on mucosal inflammation was assessed.


TGF-beta1 levels were increased in the inflamed tissues of mice with colitis induced by either TNBS or oxazolone. Nevertheless, TGF-beta1 did not exert a regulatory effect, probably because TGF-beta1 signaling was blocked, as indicated by the presence of reduced Smad3 phosphorylation and high levels of Smad7. Oral administration of Smad7 antisense oligonucleotide to colitic mice restored TGF-beta1 signaling via Smad3 and ameliorated inflammation in hapten-induced colitis. In addition, Smad7 antisense oligonucleotide had a therapeutic effect on relapsing TNBS-induced colitis but not on cell-transfer colitis.


These data suggest that colitis models associated with high endogenous TGF-beta1 levels and defective TGF-beta1 signaling due to high levels of Smad7 can be ameliorated by down-regulation of Smad7 and by oral administration of Smad7 antisense oligonucleotide. This may represent a new approach to the control of IBD, particularly during active phases when its Smad7 profile resembles that of hapten-induced colitis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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