Background: Myofibroblasts contribute to fibrosis through the overproduction of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, primarily type I collagen (COL-1) and fibronectin (FN), a process which is mediated in systemic sclerosis (SSc) by the activation of fibrogenic intracellular signaling transduction molecules, including extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (Erk1/2) and protein kinase B (Akt). Selexipag is a prostacyclin receptor agonist synthesized for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The study investigated the possibility for selexipag and its active metabolite (ACT-333679) to downregulate the profibrotic activity in primary cultures of SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts and the fibrogenic signaling molecules involved. Methods: Fibroblasts from skin biopsies obtained with Ethics Committee (EC) approval from patients with SSc, after giving signed informed consent, were cultured until the 3 rd culture passage and then either maintained in normal growth medium (untreated cells) or independently treated with different concentrations of selexipag (from 30 μM to 0.3 μM) or ACT-333679 (from 10 μM to 0.1 μM) for 48 h. Protein and gene expressions of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), fibroblast specific protein-1 (S100A4), COL-1, and FN were investigated by western blotting and quantitative real-time PCR. Erk1/2 and Akt phosphorylation was investigated in untreated and ACT-333679-treated cells by western botting. Results: Selexipag and ACT-333679 significantly reduced protein synthesis and gene expression of α-SMA, S100A4, and COL-1 in cultured SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts compared to untreated cells, whereas FN was significantly downregulated at the protein level. Interestingly, ACT-333679 significantly reduced the phosphorylation of Erk1/2 and Akt in cultured SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts. Conclusions: Selexipag and mainly its active metabolite ACT-333679 were found for the first time to potentially interfere with the profibrotic activity of cultured SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts at least in vitro, possibly through the downregulation of fibrogenic Erk1/2 and Akt signaling molecules. © 2018 The Author(s)

Effects of selexipag and its active metabolite in contrasting the profibrotic myofibroblast activity in cultured scleroderma skin fibroblasts

Cutolo M;Ruaro B;Montagna P;Brizzolara R;Stratta E;Trombetta AC;Parodi A;Paolino S;Pizzorni C;Sulli A;Soldano S
2018-01-01

Abstract

Background: Myofibroblasts contribute to fibrosis through the overproduction of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, primarily type I collagen (COL-1) and fibronectin (FN), a process which is mediated in systemic sclerosis (SSc) by the activation of fibrogenic intracellular signaling transduction molecules, including extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (Erk1/2) and protein kinase B (Akt). Selexipag is a prostacyclin receptor agonist synthesized for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The study investigated the possibility for selexipag and its active metabolite (ACT-333679) to downregulate the profibrotic activity in primary cultures of SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts and the fibrogenic signaling molecules involved. Methods: Fibroblasts from skin biopsies obtained with Ethics Committee (EC) approval from patients with SSc, after giving signed informed consent, were cultured until the 3 rd culture passage and then either maintained in normal growth medium (untreated cells) or independently treated with different concentrations of selexipag (from 30 μM to 0.3 μM) or ACT-333679 (from 10 μM to 0.1 μM) for 48 h. Protein and gene expressions of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), fibroblast specific protein-1 (S100A4), COL-1, and FN were investigated by western blotting and quantitative real-time PCR. Erk1/2 and Akt phosphorylation was investigated in untreated and ACT-333679-treated cells by western botting. Results: Selexipag and ACT-333679 significantly reduced protein synthesis and gene expression of α-SMA, S100A4, and COL-1 in cultured SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts compared to untreated cells, whereas FN was significantly downregulated at the protein level. Interestingly, ACT-333679 significantly reduced the phosphorylation of Erk1/2 and Akt in cultured SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts. Conclusions: Selexipag and mainly its active metabolite ACT-333679 were found for the first time to potentially interfere with the profibrotic activity of cultured SSc fibroblasts/myofibroblasts at least in vitro, possibly through the downregulation of fibrogenic Erk1/2 and Akt signaling molecules. © 2018 The Author(s)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/914890
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