Dysregulated healing of injured mucosa is a hallmark of many pathological conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. Mucosal injury and chronic intestinal inflammation are also associated with alterations in epithelial glycosylation. Previous studies have revealed that inflammation-induced glycan sialyl Lewis A on epithelial CD44v6 acts as a ligand for transmigrating PMNs. Here we report that robust sialylated Lewis glycan expression was induced in colonic mucosa from individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease as well as in the colonic epithelium of mice with colitis induced by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). Targeting of sialylated epithelial Lewis glycans with mAb GM35 reduced disease activity and improved mucosal integrity during DSS-induced colitis in mice. Wound healing studies revealed increased epithelial proliferation and migration responses as well as improved mucosal repair after ligation of epithelial sialyl Lewis glycans. Finally, we showed that GM35-mediated increases in epithelial proliferation and migration were mediated through activation of kinases that signal downstream of CD44v6 (Src, FAK, Akt). These findings suggest that sialylated Lewis glycans on CD44v6 represent epithelial targets for improved recovery of intestinal barrier function and restitution of mucosal homeostasis after inflammation or injury.
Matthias Kelm, Miguel Quiros, Veronica Azcutia, Kevin Boerner, Richard D. Cummings, Asma Nusrat, Jennifer C. Brazil, Charles A. Parkos