OBJECTIVES: Interleukin-23 (IL-23) has emerged as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). As biomarkers of disease state and treatment efficacy are becoming increasingly important in drug development, we sought to identify efficacy biomarkers for anti-IL-23 therapy in Crohn's disease (CD). METHODS: Candidate IL-23 biomarkers, downstream of IL-23 signaling, were identified using shotgun proteomic analysis of feces and colon lavages obtained from a short-term mouse IBD model (anti-CD40 Rag2 -/-) treated preventively with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the IL-23 receptor (IL-23R). The biomarkers were then measured in an IBD T-cell transfer model treated therapeutically with a mAb to IL-23 (p19), confirming their association with IBD. To assess the clinical relevance of these markers, we assessed their concentrations in clinical serum, colon tissue, and feces from CD patients. RESULTS: We identified 57 proteins up or downregulated in diseased animals that returned to control values when the mice were treated with mAbs to IL-23R. Among those, S100A8, S100A9, regenerating protein 3β (REG), REG3γ, lipocalin 2 (LCN2), deleted in malignant tumor 1 (DMBT1), and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) mRNA levels correlated with disease score and dose titration of mAbs to IL-23R or IL-23(p19). All biomarkers, except DMBT1, were also downregulated after therapeutic administration of mAbs to IL-23(p19) in a T-cell transfer IBD mouse model. In sera from CD patients, we confirmed a significant upregulation of S100A8/A9 (43%), MIF (138%), pancreatitis-associated protein (PAP, human homolog of REG3β/γ; 49%), LCN2 (520%), and CCL20 (1280%), compared with control samples, as well as a significant upregulation of S100A8/A9 (887%), PAP (401%), and LCN2 (783%) in human feces from CD patients compared with normal controls. CONCLUSIONS: These studies identify multiple protein biomarkers downstream of IL-23 that could be valuable tools to assess the efficacy of this new therapeutic agent.
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