Licensing status

Publication and contact information

Autoimmune disease

Colitis; inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); autoimmune disease

Forkhead box P3 (FOXP3)

Cell culture and mouse studies suggest butyrylated compounds could be used to treat colitis or other autoimmune diseases. In mice fed starch derivatives, short-chain fatty acids produced by gut microbe fermentation of butyrylated starch, but not acetylated or propionylated starch, induced colonic Treg cell differentiation. In stimulated T cells, butyrate or a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor increased Foxp3 expression and histone H3 acetylation at promoter and enhancer elements of Foxp3 compared with no treatment. In a mouse model of chronic intestinal inflammation, oral butyrylated starch prevented colitis in mice with Treg cells but not in mice depleted of Treg cells. Next steps for the RIKEN group include determining if butyrate and colonic Treg cells are involved in food allergy.
Next steps for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center group include developing HDAC inhibitors and short-chain fatty acids as therapeutic agents for IBD (see A gut feeling about butyrate, page 7).

SciBX 6(46); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1311
Published online Dec. 5, 2013

For first study, patent application filed by RIKEN covering use of butyrate to induce differentiation of colonic Treg cells as a potential therapeutic for inflammatory, autoimmune and allergic diseases; unlicensed; butyrylated starch patented by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); available for licensing; two CSIRO scientists were authors on the RIKEN manuscript

For second study, patent application filed by MSKCC
protecting methods and compositions for modulating inflammation and treating Treg cell-associated diseases; available for licensing

Furusawa, Y. et al. Nature; published online Nov. 13, 2013;
Contact: Hiroshi Ohno, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Kanagawa, Japan
Contact: Koji Hase, same affiliation as above
Contact: Shinji Fukuda, same affiliation as above

Arpaia, N. et al. Nature; published online Nov. 13, 2013;
Contact: Alexander Y. Rudensky, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y.