Alpinetin improves intestinal barrier homeostasis via regulating AhR/suv39h1/TSC2/mTORC1/autophagy pathway

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The injury of intestinal epithelial barrier is considered as the key pathophysiological process in response to gastrointestinal infection and inflammation, and plays an important role in the initiation and development of colitis. Alpinetin has been shown to improve intestinal barrier homeostasis under colitis condition, but the mechanism is still unclear. Here, we showed that alpinetin significantly improved transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) in TNF-α-stimulated Caco-2 cells, which was mainly mediated by inhibiting the apoptosis. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that alpinetin markedly increased the production of autophagosomes, along with obvious regulation of LC3B-II, beclin-1, p62, Atg7 and Atg5 expressions. In addition, it also markedly repressed the activation of mTORC1 signaling pathway, which was ascribed to TSC2 rather than p-AKT, p-ERK, p-AMPKα or PTEN expressions in Caco-2 and NCM460 cells. Furthermore, the enrichment of H3K9me3 at TSC2 promoter region was decreased and ubiquitin proteasome degradation of suv39h1 was increased. Additionally, alpinetin activated aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and promoted co-localization of AhR with suv39h1 in the cytoplasm. The relationship between alpinetin-regulated AhR/suv39h1/TSC2/mTORC1 signals, autophagy and apoptosis of Caco-2 and NCM460 cells was confirmed by using CH223191, siAhR, siTSC2 and chloroquine. Finally, CH223191 and leucine abolished alpinetin-mediated inhibition of intestinal epithelial cells apoptosis, improvement of intestinal epithelial barrier and amelioration of colitis.Graphical abstractHighlightsAlpinetin inhibits apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells by modulating autophagy.Alpinetin induces autophagy of intestinal epithelial cells via TSC2/mTORC1 signals.Alpinetin increases TSC2 via aryl hydrocarbon receptor-related degradation of suv39h1.Alpinetin ameliorates dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis.

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