Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor Pyridostigmine Bromide Attenuates Gut Pathology and Bacterial Dysbiosis in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis

Shashi P. Singh, Hitendra S. Chand, Santanu Banerjee, Hemant Agarwal, Veena Raizada, Sabita Roy, Mohan Sopori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a Th2 inflammatory bowel disease characterized by increased IL-5 and IL-13 expression, eosinophilic/neutrophilic infiltration, decreased mucus production, impaired epithelial barrier, and bacterial dysbiosis of the colon. Acetylcholine and nicotine stimulate mucus production and suppress Th2 inflammation through nicotinic receptors in lungs but UC is rarely observed in smokers and the mechanism of the protection is unclear. Methods: In order to evaluate whether acetylcholine can ameliorate UC-associated pathologies, we employed a mouse model of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced UC-like conditions, and a group of mice were treated with Pyridostigmine bromide (PB) to increase acetylcholine availability. The effects on colonic tissue morphology, Th2 inflammatory factors, MUC2 mucin, and gut microbiota were analyzed. Results: DSS challenge damaged the murine colonic architecture, reduced the MUC2 mucin and the tight-junction protein ZO-1. The PB treatment significantly attenuated these DSS-induced responses along with the eosinophilic infiltration and the pro-Th2 inflammatory factors. Moreover, PB inhibited the DSS-induced loss of commensal Clostridia and Flavobacteria, and the gain of pathogenic Erysipelotrichia and Fusobacteria. Conclusions: Together, these data suggest that in colons of a murine model, PB promotes MUC2 synthesis, suppresses Th2 inflammation and attenuates bacterial dysbiosis therefore, PB has a therapeutic potential in UC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Acetylcholine
  • Bacterial dysbiosis
  • Dextran sodium sulfate
  • Pyridostigmine bromide
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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