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J Crohns Colitis. 2017 Sep 1;11(9):1101-1112. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjx056.

VEN-120, a Recombinant Human Lactoferrin, Promotes a Regulatory T Cell [Treg] Phenotype and Drives Resolution of Inflammation in Distinct Murine Models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

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Ventria Biosciences, Fort Collins, CO, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA.


Background and Aims:

Inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] is characterised by a disruption of immune homeostasis, which is tightly regulated to protect against harmful pathogens yet not react to commensal antigens. Animal studies indicate that regulatory T cells [Treg] modulate the immune response to prevent IBD development. Lactoferrin [LF] is an endogenous anti-inflammatory pleiotropic protein secreted at high concentrations in colostrum and at mucosal sites. However, the effect of LF on specific T lymphocyte populations has not been studied. Here, we identify a novel mechanism by which a recombinant human LF, VEN-120, regulates T cell populations in health and disease.


Two murine models of intestinal inflammation, the dextran sodium sulphate colitis model and the TNFΔARE/+ model of ileitis, were used to study the anti-inflammatory and T cell modulating ability of VEN-120. Flow cytometry was used to evaluate T cell populations within the lamina propria and mesenteric lymph nodes, and to evaluate the effect of VEN-120 on CD4+ T cells in vitro.


VEN-120 reduced inflammation in both models of IBD, accompanied by increased Tregs in the intestinal lamina propria. Treatment of CD4+ T cells in vitro resulted in an upregulation of Treg genes and skewing towards a Treg population. This in vitro T cell skewing translated to an increase of Treg homing to the intestinal lamina propria and associated lymph tissue in healthy mice.


These data provide a novel immunological mechanism by which VEN-120 modulates T cells to restrict inflammatory T cell-driven disease.


VEN-120; colitis; lactoferrin; regulatory T cells

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