The Wnt/β-catenin pathway has been involved in regulating inflammation in various infectious and inflammatory diseases. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by dysregulated inflammatory response to infection with no effective therapy available. Recently elevated Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been detected in sepsis. However, its contribution to sepsis-associated inflammatory response remains to be explored. In this study, we show that inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling reduces inflammation and mitigates sepsis-induced organ injury. Using in vitro LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages, we demonstrate that a small-molecule inhibitor of β-catenin responsive transcription, iCRT3, significantly reduces the LPS-induced Wnt/β-catenin activity and also inhibits TNF-α production and IκB degradation in a dose-dependent manner. Intraperitoneal administration of iCRT3 to C57BL/6 mice, subjected to cecal ligation and puncture-induced sepsis, decreases the plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines and organ injury markers in a dose-dependent manner. The histological integrity of the lungs is improved with iCRT3 treatment, along with reduced lung collagen deposition and apoptosis. In addition, iCRT3 treatment also decreases the expression of the cytokines, neutrophil chemoattractants, as well as the MPO activity in the lungs of septic mice. Based on these findings we conclude that targeting the Wnt/β-Catenin pathway may provide a potential therapeutic approach for treatment of sepsis.
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