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Transient receptor potential melastatin 8 ion channel in macrophages modulates colitis through a balance-shift in TNF-alpha and interleukin-10 production.

Autori: Khalil M, Babes A, Lakra R, Försch S, Reeh PW, Wirtz S, Becker C, Neurath MF, Engel MA.

Editorial: Mucosal Immunol.


Khalil M1, Babes A2, Lakra R1, Försch S1, Reeh PW3, Wirtz S1, Becker C1, Neurath MF1, Engel MA1.

  • 1Medizinische Klinik 1, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.
  • 2University of Bucharest Department of Physiology, Faculty of Biology, Bucharest, Romania.
  • 3Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany.


The transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channel family is well characterized in sensory neurons; however, little is known about its role in the immune system. Here we show that the cold-sensing TRPM8 has an unexpected role in innate immunity. TRPM8 expression and function in macrophages were demonstrated in vitro using molecular techniques and calcium imaging. In addition, adoptive macrophage transfer and systemic interleukin (IL)-10 overexpression were performed in experimental colitis. TRPM8 activation induced calcium-transients in murine peritoneal macrophages (PM) and bone marrow-derived macrophages of wild-type (WT) but not TRPM8-deficient mice. TRPM8-deficient PM exhibited defective phagocytosis and increased motility compared with those in WT, whereas the opposite effects of TRPM8 activation were induced in WT PM. TRPM8 activation or blockage/genetic deletion induced a anti- or pro-inflammatory macrophage cytokine profile, respectively. WT mice treated with repeated menthol (TRPM8 agonist) enemas were consistently protected from experimental colitis, whereas TRPM8-deficient mice showed increased colitis susceptibility. Adoptive transfer of TRPM8-deficient macrophages aggravated colitis, whereas systemic IL-10 overexpression rescued this phenotype. TRPM8 activation in peptidergic sensory neurons did not affect neuropeptide release from the inflamed colon. TRPM8 in macrophages determines pro- or anti-inflammatory actions by regulating tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-10 production. These findings suggest novel TRPM8-based options for immunomodulatory intervention.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 16 March 2016; doi:10.1038/mi.2016.16.