Lactose Induces Phenotypic and Functional Changes of Neutrophils and Macrophages to Alleviate Acute Pancreatitis in Mice

Li-Long Pan, Yuan-Yuan Deng, Ruxing Wang, Chengfei Wu, Jiahong Li, Wenying Niu, Qin Yang, Madhav Bhatia, Guðmundur Hrafn Guðmundsson, Birgitta Agerberth, Julien Diana, Jia Sun

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Acute pancreatitis (AP) is one common clinical acute abdominal disease, for which specific pharmacological or nutritional therapies remain elusive. Lactose, a macronutrient and an inducer of host innate immune responses, possesses immune modulatory functions. The current study aimed to investigate potential modulatory effects of lactose and the interplay between the nutrient and pancreatic immunity during experimentally induced AP in mice. We found that either prophylactic or therapeutic treatment of lactose time-dependently reduced the severity of AP, as evidenced by reduced pancreatic edema, serum amylase levels, and pancreatic myeloperoxidase activities, as well as by histological examination of pancreatic damage. Overall, lactose promoted a regulatory cytokine milieu in the pancreas and reduced infiltration of inflammatory neutrophils and macrophages. On acinar cells, lactose was able to suppress caerulein-induced inflammatory signaling pathways and to suppress chemoattractant tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 production. Additionally, lactose acted on pancreas-infiltrated macrophages, increasing interleukin-10 and decreasing tumor necrosis factor alpha production. Notably, lactose treatment reversed AP-associated infiltration of activated neutrophils. Last, the effect of lactose on neutrophil infiltration was mimicked by a galectin-3 antagonist, suggesting a potential endogenous target of lactose. Together, the current study demonstrates an immune regulatory effect of lactose to alleviate AP and suggests its potential as a convenient, value-added therapeutic macronutrient to control AP, and lower the risk of its systemic complications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages751
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2018

Other keywords

  • Lactose
  • Inflammation
  • Immunoregulation
  • Neutrophils
  • Macrophages
  • Mjólkursykur
  • Brisbólga
  • Kviðarhol


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