MOTS-c peptide increases survival and decreases bacterial load in mice infected with MRSA

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Sepsis is a life-threatening disease characterized by uncontrolled inflammatory responses upon pathogen infections, especially for the antibiotic-resistant strains, such as Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Here we demonstrated that a Mitochondria-derived peptide (MOTS-c) could significantly improve the survival rate and decrease bacteria loads in MRSA-challenged mice, accompanied with declined levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β, but with increased level of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Moreover this peptide enhanced bactericidal capacity of macrophages. Meanwhile, MOTS-c inhibited the phosphorylation mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), and enhanced the expression of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and signal transducer and activator of transcriptional 3 (STAT3) in macrophages. Overall, MOTS-c plays a beneficial role in curbing the overwhelming inflammatory bursts in the fight against MRSA infection. It may serve as a potential therapeutic agent in sepsis treatment.HighlightMOTS-c improved survival status in mice during MRSA infection.MOTS-c strongly enhanced bactericidal capacity of macrophages.MOTS-c exerted an anti-inflammatory effect via suppressing MAPKs and increasing Ahr/STAT3 signaling pathways.

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