The novel inhibitor PRI-724 for Wnt/β-catenin/CBP signaling ameliorates bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice

Hiroyasu Okazaki, Seidai Sato, Kazuya Koyama, Shun Morizumi, Shuichi Abe, Momoyo Azuma, Yajuan Chen, Hisatsugu Goto, Yoshinori Aono, Hirohisa Ogawa, Kozo Kagawa, Haruka Nishimura, Hiroshi Kawano, Yuko Toyoda, Hisanori Uehara, Hiroyuki Kouji, Yasuhiko Nishioka
Experimental Lung Research 2019 July 12, : 1-12
Purpose/Aim of the Study: Wnt/β-catenin signaling was reported to be activated in pulmonary fibrosis, and was focused on as a target for antifibrotic therapy. However, the mechanism how the inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling ameliorate pulmonary fibrosis has not been fully elucidated. The purpose of this study is to explore the target cells of Wnt/β-catenin inhibition in pulmonary fibrosis and to examine the antifibrotic effect of the novel inhibitor PRI-724 specifically disrupting the interaction of β-catenin and CBP. Materials and Methods: The effect of C-82, an active metabolite of PRI-724, on the expression of TGF-β1 and α-smooth muscle actin (SMA) was examined on fibroblasts and macrophages. We also examined the effects of PRI-724 in mouse model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Results: The activation and increased accumulation of β-catenin in the canonical pathway were detected in lung fibroblasts as well as macrophages stimulated by Wnt3a using Western blotting. Treatment with C-82 reduced CBP protein and increased p300 protein binding to β-catenin in the nucleus of lung fibroblasts. In addition, C-82 inhibited the expression of SMA in lung fibroblasts treated with TGF-β, indicating the inhibition of myofibroblast differentiation. In the fibrotic lungs induced by bleomycin, β-catenin was stained strongly in macrophages, but the staining of β-catenin in alveolar epithelial cells and fibroblasts was weak. The administration of PRI-724 ameliorated pulmonary fibrosis induced by bleomycin in mice when administered with a late, but not an early, treatment schedule. Analysis of bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) showed a decreased number of alveolar macrophages. In addition, the level of TGF-β1 in BALF was decreased in mice treated with PRI-724. C-82 also inhibited the production of TGF-β1 by alveolar macrophages. Conclusions: These results suggest that the β-catenin/CBP inhibitor PRI-724 is a potent antifibrotic agent that acts by modulating the activity of macrophages in the lungs.

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