Anti-fibrotic effects of nintedanib in lung fibroblasts derived from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Katrin E Hostettler, Jun Zhong, Eleni Papakonstantinou, George Karakiulakis, Michael Tamm, Petra Seidel, Qingzhu Sun, Jyotshna Mandal, Didier Lardinois, Christopher Lambers, Michael Roth
Respiratory Research 2014 December 12, 15: 157

BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive lung disease with poor prognosis. The kinase inhibitor nintedanib specific for vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) and fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) significantly reduced the rate of decline of forced vital capacity versus placebo.

AIM: To determine the in vitro effect of nintedanib on primary human lung fibroblasts.

METHODS: Fibroblasts were isolated from lungs of IPF patients and from non-fibrotic controls. We assessed the effect of VEGF, PDGF-BB and basic FGF (bFGF) ± nintedanib on: (i) expression/activation of VEGFR, PDGFR, and FGFR, (ii) cell proliferation, secretion of (iii) matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), (iv) tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP), and (v) collagen.

RESULTS: IPF fibroblasts expressed higher levels of PDGFR and FGFR than controls. PDGF-BB, bFGF, and VEGF caused a pro-proliferative effect which was prevented by nintedanib. Nintedanib enhanced the expression of pro-MMP-2, and inhibited the expression of TIMP-2. Transforming growth factor-beta-induced secretion of collagens was inhibited by nintedanib.

CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrate a significant anti-fibrotic effect of nintedanib in IPF fibroblasts. This effect consists of the drug's anti-proliferative capacity, and on its effect on the extracellular matrix, the degradation of which seems to be enhanced.

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