Sodium chloride–enriched Diet Enhanced Inflammatory Cytokine Production and Exacerbated Experimental Colitis in Mice

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Background and Aim:

Environmental factors are supposed to play a decisive role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases [IBDs]. Increased dietary salt intake has been linked with the development of autoimmune diseases, but the impact of a salt-enriched diet on the course of IBD remains unknown. In this study, we examined whether high salt intake alters mucosal cytokine production and exacerbates colitis.


Normal intestinal lamina propria mononuclear cells [LPMCs] were activated with anti-CD3/CD28 in the presence or absence of increasing concentrations of sodium chloride [NaCl] and/or SB202190, a specific inhibitor of p38/MAP Kinase. For in vivo experiments, a high dose of NaCl was administered to mice 15 days before induction of trinitrobenzene-sulfonic acid [TNBS]-colitis or dextran sulfate sodium [DSS]-colitis. In parallel, mice were given SB202190 before induction of TNBS-colitis. Transcription factors and effector cytokines were evaluated by flow-cytometry and real-time PCR.


IL-17A, IL-23R, TNF-α, and Ror-γT were significantly increased in human LPMCs following NaCl exposure, while there was no significant change in IFN-γ, T-bet or Foxp3. Pharmacologic inhibition of p38/MAPK abrogated the NaCl-inducing effect on LPMC-derived cytokines. Mice receiving the high-salt diet developed a more severe colitis than control mice, and this effect was preventable by SB202190.


Our data indicated that exposure of intestinal mononuclear cells to a high-NaCl diet enhanced effector cytokine production and contributed to the exacerbation of experimental colitis in mice.

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