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Mol Med Rep. 2016 Feb;13(2):1156-62. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.4686. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

AT1R blocker losartan attenuates intestinal epithelial cell apoptosis in a mouse model of Crohn's disease.

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Department of Pediatric Orthopedics, Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110004, P.R. China.
Department of Pediatrics, Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110004, P.R. China.


Angiotensin II, which is the main effector of the renin‑angiotensin system, has an important role in intestinal inflammation via the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R). The present study aimed to investigate the protective effects of the AT1R blocker losartan on 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis. Losartan was administered to male adult C57BL/6 J mice 2 weeks prior to the induction of colitis, and images of the whole colon were captured to record changes, scored according to a microscopic scoring system, and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction were performed in order to investigate colonic inflammation. In addition, intestinal epithelial barrier permeability was evaluated, and intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) apoptosis was measured using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining, and apoptosis-related protein expression levels were detected by western blotting. Losartan was able to attenuate TNBS-induced body weight loss and colonic damage. Furthermore, T helper 1-mediated proinflammatory cytokines were suppressed by losartan, and gut permeability was largely preserved. TUNEL staining revealed reduced IEC apoptosis in the losartan-treated mice. Losartan also increased the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2)/Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) ratio and suppressed caspase-3 induction. These results suggested that the AT1R blocker losartan may attenuate TNBS-induced colitis by inhibiting the apoptosis of IECs. The effects of losartan were partially mediated through increasing the Bcl-2/Bax ratio and subsequently suppressing the induction of the proapoptotic mediator caspase-3.

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