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Selective p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor attenuates lung inflammation and fibrosis in IL-13 transgenic mouse model of asthma

Authors Ma J, Medicherla S, Kerr I, Mangadu R, Protter A, Higgins L

Published 16 November 2008 Volume 2008:1 Pages 31—44


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Peer reviewer comments 5

Jing Ying Ma1, Satyanarayana Medicherla1, Irene Kerr, Ruban Mangadu, Andrew A Protter, Linda S Higgins

1Scios Inc, Fremont, CA, USA 1Jing Ying Ma and Satyanarayana Medicherla contributed equally to this work

Abstract: p38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) plays a critical role in the activation of inflammatory cells. We investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of a p38α-selective MAPK inhibitor (SD-282) in a mouse transgenic (CC10:IL-13) asthma model. The CC-10-driven over-expression of IL-13 in the mouse lung/airway has been shown to result in a remarkable phenotype recatitulating many features of asthma and characterized by eosinophilic and mononuclear inflammation, with airway epithelial cell hypertrophy, mucus cell metaplasia, the hyperproduction of neutral and acidic mucus, the deposition of Charcot–Leyden-like crystal, and airway sub-epitheilial fibrosis. Here we show how activated p38 MAPK can be observed in the lungs at the onset of asthma ie, around 8 weeks of age in both female and male mice. We also show that administration of a p38α MAPK selective inhibitor, SD-282 at 30 or 90 mg/kg, twice a day for a period of four weeks beginning at the onset of asthma, significantly reduced the inflammation (p < 0.001); hyperplasia of airway epithelium (p < 0.05); goblet cell metaplasia and mucus hypersecretion (p < 0.001) and reduced lung remodeling and fibrosis (p < 0.01), alleviating the severity of lung damage as measured by a composite score (p < 0.05). Furthermore, SD-282 significantly reduced activated p38 MAPK in the lymphocytes and epithelial cells (p < 0.001). Simultaneously, identical studies were conducted with an anti-fibrotic TGFβR1 kinase inhibitor (SD-208) which demonstrated anti-fibrotic but not anti-inflammatory properties. These findings suggest that the p38α-selective MAPK inhibitor may have dual therapeutic potential in attenuating both the inflammatory component and the fibrotic component of asthma and other Th2-polarized inflammatory lung diseases.

Keywords: inflammation, asthma, fibrosis, p38α-selective MAPK inhibitor, SD-282, phosphorylated p38 MAPK, TGFβ inhibitor, SD-208, phosphorylated SMAD2/3

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