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Semren, Nora; Habel-Ungewitter, Nunja C.; Fernandez, Isis E.; Koenigshoff, Melanie; Eickelberg, Oliver; Stoeger, Tobias and Meiners, Silke (2015): Validation of the 2nd Generation Proteasome Inhibitor Oprozomib for Local Therapy of Pulmonary Fibrosis.
In: PLOS ONE 10(9), e0136188 [PDF, 12MB]

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Proteasome inhibition has been shown to prevent development of fibrosis in several organs including the lung. However, effects of proteasome inhibitors on lung fibrosis are controversial and cytotoxic side effects of the overall inhibition of proteasomal protein degradation cannot be excluded. Therefore, we hypothesized that local lung-specific application of a novel, selective proteasome inhibitor, oprozomib (OZ),provides antifibrotic effects without systemic toxicity in a mouse model of lung fibrosis. Oprozomib was first tested on the human alveolar epithelial cancer cell line A549 and in primary mouse alveolar epithelial type II cells regarding its cytotoxic effects on alveolar epithelial cells and compared to the FDA approved proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (BZ). OZ was less toxic than BZ and provided high selectivity for the chymotrypsin-like active site of the proteasome. In primary mouse lung fibroblasts, OZ showed significant anti-fibrotic effects, i.e. reduction of collagen I and a smooth muscle actin expression, in the absence of cytotoxicity. When applied locally into the lungs of healthy mice via instillation, OZ was well tolerated and effectively reduced proteasome activity in the lungs. In bleomycin challenged mice, however, locally applied OZ resulted in accelerated weight loss and increased mortality of treated mice. Further, OZ failed to reduce fibrosis in these mice. While upon systemic application OZ was well tolerated in healthy mice, it rather augmented instead of attenuated fibrotic remodelling of the lung in bleomycin challenged mice. To conclude, low toxicity and antifibrotic effects of OZ in pulmonary fibroblasts could not be confirmed for pulmonary fibrosis of bleomycin-treated mice. In light of these data, the use of proteasome inhibitors as therapeutic agents for the treatment of fibrotic lung diseases should thus be considered with caution.

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