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A GPBAR1 (TGR5) Small Molecule Agonist Shows Specific Inhibitory Effects on Myeloid Cell Activation In Vitro and Reduces Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis (EAE) In Vivo

Lewis, ND;Patnaude, LA;Pelletier, J;Souza, DJ;Lukas, SM;King, FJ;Hill, JD;Stefanopoulos, DE;Ryan, K;Desai, S;Skow, D;Kauschke, SG;Broermann, A;Kuzmich, D;Harcken, C;Hickey, ER;Modis, LK;

GPBAR1 is a G protein-coupled receptor that is activated by certain bile acids and plays an important role in the regulation of bile acid synthesis, lipid metabolism, and energy homeostasis. Recent evidence suggests that GPBAR1 may also have important effects in reducing the inflammatory response through its expression on monocytes and macrophages. To further understand the role of GPBAR1 in inflammation, we generated a novel, selective, proprietary GPBAR1 agonist and tested its effectiveness at reducing monocyte and macrophage activation in vitro and in vivo. We have used this agonist, together with previously described agonists to study agonism of GPBAR1, and shown that they can all induce cAMP and reduce TLR activation-induced cytokine production in human monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages in vitro. Additionally, through the usage of RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), we identified a select set of genes that are regulated by GPBAR1 agonism during LPS activation. To further define the in vivo role of GPBAR1 in inflammation, we assessed GPBAR1 expression and found high levels on circulating mouse monocytes. Agonism of GPBAR1 reduced LPS-induced cytokine production in mouse monocytes ex vivo and serum cytokine levels in vivo. Agonism of GPBAR1 also had profound effects in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of multiple sclerosis, where monocytes play an important role. Mice treated with the GPBAR1 agonist exhibited a significant reduction in the EAE clinical score which correlated with reduced monocyte and microglial activation and reduced trafficking of monocytes and T cells into the CNS. These data confirm the importance of GPBAR1 in controlling monocyte and macrophage activation in vivo and support the rationale for selective agonists of GPBAR1 in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.