Prolonged Ca2+ entry through Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels is crucial in activating the Ca 2+-sensitive transcription factor NFAT, which is responsible for directing T cell proliferation and cytokine gene expression. To establish whether targeting CRAC might counteract intestinal inflammation, we evaluated the in vitro effect of a selective CRAC inhibitor on T cell cytokine production and T-bet expression by lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMC) and biopsy specimens from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. The inhibitory activity of the CRAC blocker was investigated through patch-clamp experiments on rat basophilic leukemia cells and fluorometric imaging plate reader intracellular Ca2+ assays using thapsigargin-stimulated Jurkat T cells and its detailed selectivity profile defined using a range of in vitro radioligand binding and functional assays. Anti-CD3/CD28-stimulated LPMC and biopsy specimens from 51 patients with IBD were cultured with a range of CRAC inhibitor concentrations (0.01-10 μM). IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-8, and IL-17 were analyzed by ELISA. T-bet was determined by immunoblotting. We found that the CRAC blocker concentration-dependently inhibited CRAC current in rat basophilic leukemia cells and thapsigargin-induced Ca2+ influx in Jurkat T cells. A concentration-dependent reduction in T-bet expression and production of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-17, but not IL-8, was observed in IBD LPMC and biopsy specimens treated with the CRAC inhibitor. In conclusion, we provide evidence that the suppression of CRAC channel function may dampen the increased T cell response in the inflamed gut, thus suggesting a promising role for CRAC inhibitor drugs in the therapeutic management of patients with IBD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas