Losartan ameliorates dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa and uncovers new disease mechanisms.
ABSTRACT: Genetic loss of collagen VII causes recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB)-a severe skin fragility disorder associated with lifelong blistering and disabling progressive soft tissue fibrosis. Causative therapies for this complex disorder face major hurdles, and clinical implementation remains elusive. Here, we report an alternative evidence-based approach to ameliorate fibrosis and relieve symptoms in RDEB. Based on the findings that TGF-? activity is elevated in injured RDEB skin, we targeted TGF-? activity with losartan in a preclinical setting. Long-term treatment of RDEB mice efficiently reduced TGF-? signaling in chronically injured forepaws and halted fibrosis and subsequent fusion of the digits. In addition, proteomics analysis of losartan- vs. vehicle-treated RDEB skin uncovered changes in multiple proteins related to tissue inflammation. In line with this, losartan reduced inflammation and diminished TNF-? and IL-6 expression in injured forepaws. Collectively, the data argue that RDEB fibrosis is a consequence of a cascade encompassing tissue damage, TGF-?-mediated inflammation, and matrix remodeling. Inhibition of TGF-? activity limits these unwanted outcomes and thereby substantially ameliorates long-term symptoms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been emerged as one of the causes of acute recurrent or chronic hypertensive anterior uveitis in immunocompetent. In hypertensive anterior uveitis, human trabecular meshwork (TM) cells are considered a focus of inflammation. We investigated the effects of losartan, a selective angiotensin II receptor antagonist, on CMV infection in human TM cells. METHODS:Human TM cells were infected with CMV AD169. Virus infected and mock-infected cells were treated with losartan or dexamethasone or ganciclovir with or without transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1. Viral DNA accumulation and host cell response were analyzed using real-time PCR. Levels of secreted TGF-β1 were measured by determining its concentration in conditioned medium using a commercially available sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. RESULTS:CMV infection significantly increased the concentrations of the secreted TGF-β1 at 3, 5, and 7 day post infection in TM cells. Treatment with dexamethasone or losartan significantly decreased the levels of TGF-β1, whereas treatment with ganciclovir did not affect TGF-β1 levels. TM cells treated with TGF-β1 along with the presence of losartan for 48 hours showed marked decrease in the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (SMA), lysyl oxidase (LOX), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), fibronectin and collagen-1A, compared with cells treated with TGF-β1 alone. CMV-infected TM cells stimulated by TGF-β1 significantly increased the expression of α-SMA and CTGF, which were attenuated by additional treatment with losartan. CONCLUSION:Losartan inhibited the expression of TGF-β1 and fibrogenic molecules in human TM cells. Thus, losartan has the potential to decrease TM fibrosis in patients with CMV-induced hypertensive anterior uveitis.
Project description:Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a severe skin disease caused by mutation of the COL7A1 gene. RDEB is associated with high levels of TGF-?1, which is likely to be involved in the fibrosis that develops in this disease. Endoglin (CD105) is a type III coreceptor for TGF-?1 and its overexpression in fibroblasts deregulates physiological Smad/Alk1/Alk5 signalling, repressing the synthesis of TGF-?1 and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Raloxifene is a specific estrogen receptor modulator designated as an orphan drug for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a rare vascular disease. Raloxifene stimulates endoglin synthesis, which could attenuate fibrosis. By contrast, the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine may have therapeutic value to rectify inflammation, fibrosis and endothelial dysfunction. Thus, we present here a repurposing strategy based on the molecular and functional screening of fibroblasts from RDEB patients with these drugs, leading us to propose the repositioning of these two well-known drugs currently in clinical use, raloxifene and N-acetylcysteine, to counteract fibrosis and inflammation in RDEB. Both compounds modulate the profibrotic events that may ultimately be responsible for the clinical manifestations in RDEB, suggesting that these findings may also be relevant for other diseases in which fibrosis is an important pathophysiological event.
Project description:The aim was to determine whether losartan reduces cigarette smoke (CS)-induced airway inflammation and mucus hypersecretion in an <i>in vitro</i> model and a small clinical trial. Primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) were differentiated at the air-liquid interface (ALI) and exposed to CS. Expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-?1 and the mucin MUC5AC, and expression or activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 were measured after CS exposure. Parameters of mucociliary clearance were evaluated by measuring airway surface liquid volumes, mucus concentrations, and conductance of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and large conductance, Ca<sup>2+</sup>-activated and voltage-dependent potassium (BK) channels. Nasal cells were collected from study participants and expression of <i>MUC5AC</i>, <i>TGF-?1</i>, and <i>MMP-9</i> mRNAs was measured before and after losartan treatment. <i>In vitro</i>, CS exposure of HBECs caused a significant increase in mRNA expression of <i>MUC5AC</i> and <i>TGF-?1</i> and MMP-9 activity and decreased CFTR and BK channel activities, thereby reducing airway surface liquid volumes and increasing mucus concentrations. Treatment of HBECs with losartan rescued CS-induced CFTR and BK dysfunction and caused a significant decrease in <i>MUC5AC</i> expression and mucus concentrations, partially by inhibiting TGF-? signalling. In a prospective clinical study, cigarette smokers showed significantly reduced mRNA expression levels of <i>MUC5AC</i>, <i>TGF-?1</i>, and <i>MMP-9</i> in the upper airways after 2?months of losartan treatment. Our findings suggest that losartan may be an effective therapy to reduce inflammation and mucus hypersecretion in CS-induced chronic airway diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND:After myocardial infarction (MI), mitral valve (MV) tethering stimulates adaptive leaflet growth, but counterproductive leaflet thickening and fibrosis augment mitral regurgitation (MR), doubling heart failure and mortality. MV fibrosis post-MI is associated with excessive endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), driven by transforming growth factor (TGF)-? overexpression. In vitro, losartan-mediated TGF-? inhibition reduces EMT of MV endothelial cells. OBJECTIVES:This study tested the hypothesis that profibrotic MV changes post-MI are therapeutically accessible, specifically by losartan-mediated TGF-? inhibition. METHODS:The study assessed 17 sheep, including 6 sham-operated control animals and 11 with apical MI and papillary muscle retraction short of producing MR; 6 of the 11 were treated with daily losartan, and 5 were untreated, with flexible epicardial mesh comparably limiting left ventricular (LV) remodeling. LV volumes, tethering, and MV area were quantified by using three-dimensional echocardiography at baseline and at 60 ± 6 days, and excised leaflets were analyzed by histopathology and flow cytometry. RESULTS:Post-MI LV dilation and tethering were comparable in the losartan-treated and untreated LV constraint sheep. Telemetered sensors (n = 6) showed no significant losartan-induced changes in arterial pressure. Losartan strongly reduced leaflet thickness (0.9 ± 0.2 mm vs. 1.6 ± 0.2 mm; p < 0.05; 0.4 ± 0.1 mm sham animals), TGF-?, and downstream phosphorylated extracellular-signal-regulated kinase and EMT (27.2 ± 12.0% vs. 51.6 ± 11.7% ?-smooth muscle actin-positive endothelial cells, p < 0.05; 7.2 ± 3.5% sham animals), cellular proliferation, collagen deposition, endothelial cell activation (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression), neovascularization, and cells positive for cluster of differentiation (CD) 45, a hematopoietic marker associated with post-MI valve fibrosis. Leaflet area increased comparably (17%) in constrained and losartan-treated sheep. CONCLUSIONS:Profibrotic changes of tethered MV leaflets post-MI can be modulated by losartan without eliminating adaptive growth. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms could provide new opportunities to reduce ischemic MR.
Project description:Pancreatic adenocarcinoma, a desmoplastic disease, is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world due, in large part, to locally invasive primary tumor growth and ensuing metastasis. SPARC is a matricellular protein that governs extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and maturation during tissue remodeling, particularly, during wound healing and tumorigenesis. In the present study, we sought to determine the mechanism by which lack of host SPARC alters the tumor microenvironment and enhances invasion and metastasis of an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer. We identified that levels of active TGF?1 were increased significantly in tumors grown in SPARC-null mice. TGF?1 contributes to many aspects of tumor development including metastasis, endothelial cell permeability, inflammation and fibrosis, all of which are altered in the absence of stromal-derived SPARC. Given these results, we performed a survival study to assess the contribution of increased TGF?1 activity to tumor progression in SPARC-null mice using losartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist that diminishes TGF?1 expression and activation in vivo. Tumors grown in SPARC-null mice progressed more quickly than those grown in wild-type littermates leading to a significant reduction in median survival. However, median survival of SPARC-null animals treated with losartan was extended to that of losartan-treated wild-type controls. In addition, losartan abrogated TGF? induced gene expression, reduced local invasion and metastasis, decreased vascular permeability and altered the immune profile of tumors grown in SPARC-null mice. These data support the concept that aberrant TGF?1-activation in the absence of host SPARC contributes significantly to tumor progression and suggests that SPARC, by controlling ECM deposition and maturation, can regulate TGF? availability and activation.
Project description:<b>Rationale:</b> Despite therapeutic progress in treating cystic fibrosis (CF) airway disease, airway inflammation with associated mucociliary dysfunction remains largely unaddressed. Inflammation reduces the activity of apically expressed large-conductance Ca<sup>2+</sup>-activated and voltage-dependent K<sup>+</sup> (BK) channels, critical for mucociliary function in the absence of CFTR (CF transmembrane conductance regulator).<b>Objectives:</b> To test losartan as an antiinflammatory therapy in CF using CF human bronchial epithelial cells and an ovine model of CF-like airway disease.<b>Methods:</b> Losartan's antiinflammatory effectiveness to rescue BK activity and thus mucociliary function was tested <i>in vitro</i> using primary, fully redifferentiated human airway epithelial cells homozygous for F508del and <i>in vivo</i> using a previously validated, now expanded pharmacologic sheep model of CF-like, inflammation-associated mucociliary dysfunction.<b>Measurements and Main Results:</b> Nasal scrapings from patients with CF showed that neutrophilic inflammation correlated with reduced expression of LRRC26 (leucine rich repeat containing 26), the γ subunit mandatory for BK function in the airways. TGF-β1 (transforming growth factor β1), downstream of neutrophil elastase, decreased mucociliary parameters <i>in vitro</i>. These were rescued by losartan at concentrations achieved by nebulization in the airway and oral application in the bloodstream: BK dysfunction recovered acutely and over time (the latter via an increase in LRRC26 expression), ciliary beat frequency and airway surface liquid volume improved, and mucus hyperconcentration and cellular inflammation decreased. These effects did not depend on angiotensin receptor blockade. Expanding on a validated and published nongenetic, CF-like sheep model, ewes inhaled CFTR<sub>inh</sub>172 and neutrophil elastase for 3 days, which resulted in prolonged tracheal mucus velocity reduction, mucus hyperconcentration, and increased TGF-β1. Nebulized losartan rescued both mucus transport and mucus hyperconcentration and reduced TGF-β1.<b>Conclusions:</b> Losartan effectively reversed CF- and inflammation-associated mucociliary dysfunction, independent of its angiotensin receptor blockade.
Project description:Myhre syndrome (MS, MIM 139210) is a connective tissue disorder that presents with short stature, short hands and feet, facial dysmorphic features, muscle hypertrophy, thickened skin, and deafness. Recurrent missense mutations in SMAD4 encoding for a transducer mediating transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling are responsible for MS. We found that MS fibroblasts showed increased SMAD4 protein levels, impaired matrix deposition, and altered expression of genes encoding matrix metalloproteinases and related inhibitors. Increased TGF-β signaling and progression of aortic root dilation in Marfan syndrome can be prevented by the antihypertensive drug losartan, a TGF-β antagonists and angiotensin-II type 1 receptor blocker. Herein, we showed that losartan normalizes metalloproteinase and related inhibitor transcript levels and corrects the extracellular matrix deposition defect in fibroblasts from MS patients. The results of this study may pave the way toward therapeutic applications of losartan in MS.
Project description:Systemic skin-selective therapeutics would be a major advancement in the treatment of diseases affecting the entire skin, such as recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), which is caused by mutations in the COL7A1 gene and manifests in transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-driven fibrosis and malignant transformation. Homing peptides containing a C-terminal R/KXXR/K motif (C-end rule [CendR] sequence) activate an extravasation and tissue penetration pathway for tumor-specific drug delivery. We have previously described a homing peptide CRKDKC (CRK) that contains a cryptic CendR motif and homes to angiogenic blood vessels in wounds and tumors, but it cannot penetrate cells or tissues. In this study, we demonstrate that removal of the cysteine from CRK to expose the CendR sequence confers the peptide novel ability to home to normal skin. Fusion of the truncated CRK (tCRK) peptide to the C terminus of an extracellular matrix protein decorin (DCN), a natural TGF-β inhibitor, resulted in a skin-homing therapeutic molecule (DCN-tCRK). Systemic DCN-tCRK administration in RDEB mice led to inhibition of TGF-β signaling in the skin and significant improvement in the survival of RDEB mice. These results suggest that DCN-tCRK has the potential to be utilized as a novel therapeutic compound for the treatment of dermatological diseases such as RDEB.
Project description:Excessive myocardial collagen deposition and cross-linking (CCL), a process regulated by lysyl oxidase (LOX), determines left ventricular (LV) stiffness and dysfunction. The angiotensin II antagonist losartan, metabolized to the EXP3179 and EXP3174 metabolites, reduces myocardial fibrosis and LV stiffness in hypertensive patients. Our aim was to investigate the differential influence of losartan metabolites on myocardial LOX and CCL in an experimental model of hypertension with myocardial fibrosis, and whether EXP3179 and EXP3174 modify LOX expression and activity in fibroblasts. In rats treated with NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), administration of EXP3179 fully prevented LOX, CCL and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) increase, as well as fibrosis, without normalization of blood pressure (BP). In contrast, administration of EXP3174 normalized BP and attenuated fibrosis but did not modify LOX, CCL and CTGF. In TGF-?1-stimulated fibroblasts, EXP3179 inhibited CTGF and LOX expression and activity with lower IC50 values than EXP3174. Our results indicate that, despite a lower antihypertensive effect, EXP3179 shows higher anti-fibrotic efficacy than EXP3174, likely through its ability to prevent the excess of LOX and CCL. It is suggested that the anti-fibrotic effect of EXP3179 may be partially mediated by the blockade of CTGF-induced LOX in fibroblasts.
Project description:Healing of burn wounds is often associated with scar formation due to excessive inflammation and delayed wound closure. To date, no effective treatment is available to prevent the fibrotic process. The Renin Angiotensin System (RAS) was shown to be involved in fibrosis in various organs. Statins (e.g. Atorvastatin), Angiotensin receptor antagonists (e.g. Losartan) and the combination of these drugs are able to reduce the local RAS activation, and reduced fibrosis in other organs. We investigated whether inhibition of the RAS could improve healing of burn wounds by treatment with Atorvastatin, Losartan or the combination of both drugs. Therefore, full and partial thickness burn wounds were inflicted on both flanks of Yorkshire pigs. Oral administration of Atorvastatin, Losartan or the combination was started at post-burn day 1 and continued for 28 days. Full thickness wounds were excised and transplanted with an autologous meshed split-thickness skin graft at post-burn day 14. Partial thickness wounds received conservative treatment. Atorvastatin treatment resulted in enhanced graft take and wound closure of the full thickness wounds, faster resolution of neutrophils compared to all treatments and reduced alpha-smooth muscle actin positive cells compared to control treatment. Treatment with Losartan and to a lesser extent the combination therapy resulted in diminished graft take, increased wound contraction and poorer scar outcome. In contrast, Losartan treatment in partial thickness wounds decreased the alpha-smooth muscle actin+ fibroblasts and contraction. In conclusion, we showed differential effects of Losartan and Atorvastatin in full and partial thickness wounds. The extensive graft loss seen in Losartan treated wounds is most likely responsible for the poor clinical outcome of these full thickness burn wounds. Therefore, Losartan treatment should not be started before transplantation in order to prevent graft loss. Atorvastatin seems to accelerate the healing process in full thickness wounds possibly by dampening the pro-inflammatory response.