Inhibition of experimental allergic airways disease by local application of a cell-penetrating dominant-negative STAT-6 peptide

Christine T McCusker, Yufa Wang, Jichuan Shan, Margaret W Kinyanjui, Annie Villeneuve, Husheem Michael, Elizabeth D Fixman
Journal of Immunology 2007 August 15, 179 (4): 2556-64
Allergic airways disease is initiated and perpetuated by an aberrant Th2 inflammatory response regulated in part by the cytokines IL-4 and IL-13, each of which induces activation of the STAT-6 transcription factor. Data from murine models indicate that the clinical manifestations of acute asthma are STAT-6 dependent, and thus, STAT-6 is a target for drug development in allergic airways disease. We designed a novel chimeric peptide (STAT-6 inhibitory peptide (STAT-6-IP)) comprised of a sequence predicted to bind to and inhibit STAT-6, fused to a protein transduction domain, to facilitate cellular uptake of the STAT-6-binding peptide. Our data demonstrate that the STAT-6-IP inhibited OVA-induced production of Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 in vitro. In contrast, the STAT-6-IP did not affect production of IFN-gamma, demonstrating specificity for Th2 cytokine inhibition. Following intranasal administration, the STAT-6-IP was localized to epithelial cells in the airways. Finally, in in vivo murine models of allergic rhinitis and asthma, intranasal delivery of the STAT-6-IP inhibited OVA-induced lung inflammation and mucus production as well as accumulation of eosinophils and IL-13 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and OVA-dependent airway hyperresponsiveness. Together these data show that local application of cell-penetrating peptide inhibitors of STAT-6 has significant potential for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma.

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