Background and Aims: Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase-1 (IDO1), a key enzyme in tryptophan metabolism, is strongly up-regulated both in human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and animal models of colitis, however its role in the pathogenesis is still controversial. In this study, we investigated IDO1 expression and activity in a mouse model of DSS-induced chronic colitis as well as in colon biopsies and sera from IBD patients. Methods: Chronic colitis was induced in mice through the oral administration of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS), and IDO1 activity was induced by i.p. treatment with N-acetyl serotonin (NAS). IDO1 expression and catalytic activity (measured as Kyn/Trp ratio) were evaluated in sera and tissue samples collected from mice and 93 IBD patients under immunotherapy with Vedolizumab (VDZ) or Ustekinumab (UST). Results: Strong up-regulation of IDO1 was found in colons of mice with acute colitis, which follows disease activity. Enhanced IDO1 activity by NAS treatment protects the intestinal mucosa during the recovery phase of chronic colitis. In IBD patients, IDO1 expression and activity correlate with the severity of mucosal inflammation with inflamed regions showing higher IDO1 expression compared to non-inflamed regions within the same patient. Endoscopic response to VDZ/UST treatment is associated with decreased expression of IDO1. Conclusions: This is the first study demonstrating immunomodulatory activity of IDO1 in a chronic mouse model of DSS-induced colitis. As its expression and catalytic activity correlate with the grade of mucosal inflammation and treatment response, IDO1 could represent a promising biomarker for disease severity and treatment monitoring in IBD.
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