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Stimulation of the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) inhibits fibrosis by blocking non-canonical TGFβ signalling


Beyer, Christian; Zenzmaier, Christoph; Palumbo-Zerr, Katrin; Mancuso, Rossella; Distler, Alfiya; Dees, Clara; Zerr, Pawel; Huang, Jingang; Maier, Christiane; Pachowsky, Milena L; Friebe, Andreas; Sandner, Peter; Distler, Oliver; Schett, Georg; Berger, Peter; Distler, Jörg H W (2015). Stimulation of the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) inhibits fibrosis by blocking non-canonical TGFβ signalling. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 74(7):1408-1416.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES We have previously described the antifibrotic role of the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). The mode of action, however, remained elusive. In the present study, we describe a novel link between sGC signalling and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signalling that mediates the antifibrotic effects of the sGC. METHODS Human fibroblasts and murine sGC knockout fibroblasts were treated with the sGC stimulator BAY 41-2272 or the stable cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) analogue 8-Bromo-cGMP and stimulated with TGFβ. sGC knockout fibroblasts were isolated from sGCI(fl/fl) mice, and recombination was induced by Cre-adenovirus. In vivo, we studied the antifibrotic effects of BAY 41-2272 in mice overexpressing a constitutively active TGF-β1 receptor. RESULTS sGC stimulation inhibited TGFβ-dependent fibroblast activation and collagen release. sGC knockout fibroblasts confirmed that the sGC is essential for the antifibrotic effects of BAY 41-2272. Furthermore, 8-Bromo-cGMP reduced TGFβ-dependent collagen release. While nuclear p-SMAD2 and 3 levels, SMAD reporter activity and transcription of classical TGFβ target genes remained unchanged, sGC stimulation blocked the phosphorylation of ERK. In vivo, sGC stimulation inhibited TGFβ-driven dermal fibrosis but did not change p-SMAD2 and 3 levels and TGFβ target gene expression, confirming that non-canonical TGFβ pathways mediate the antifibrotic sGC activity. CONCLUSIONS We elucidated the antifibrotic mode of action of the sGC that increases cGMP levels, blocks non-canonical TGFβ signalling and inhibits experimental fibrosis. Since sGC stimulators have shown excellent efficacy and tolerability in phase 3 clinical trials for pulmonary arterial hypertension, they may be further developed for the simultaneous treatment of fibrosis and vascular disease in systemic sclerosis.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES We have previously described the antifibrotic role of the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). The mode of action, however, remained elusive. In the present study, we describe a novel link between sGC signalling and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signalling that mediates the antifibrotic effects of the sGC. METHODS Human fibroblasts and murine sGC knockout fibroblasts were treated with the sGC stimulator BAY 41-2272 or the stable cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) analogue 8-Bromo-cGMP and stimulated with TGFβ. sGC knockout fibroblasts were isolated from sGCI(fl/fl) mice, and recombination was induced by Cre-adenovirus. In vivo, we studied the antifibrotic effects of BAY 41-2272 in mice overexpressing a constitutively active TGF-β1 receptor. RESULTS sGC stimulation inhibited TGFβ-dependent fibroblast activation and collagen release. sGC knockout fibroblasts confirmed that the sGC is essential for the antifibrotic effects of BAY 41-2272. Furthermore, 8-Bromo-cGMP reduced TGFβ-dependent collagen release. While nuclear p-SMAD2 and 3 levels, SMAD reporter activity and transcription of classical TGFβ target genes remained unchanged, sGC stimulation blocked the phosphorylation of ERK. In vivo, sGC stimulation inhibited TGFβ-driven dermal fibrosis but did not change p-SMAD2 and 3 levels and TGFβ target gene expression, confirming that non-canonical TGFβ pathways mediate the antifibrotic sGC activity. CONCLUSIONS We elucidated the antifibrotic mode of action of the sGC that increases cGMP levels, blocks non-canonical TGFβ signalling and inhibits experimental fibrosis. Since sGC stimulators have shown excellent efficacy and tolerability in phase 3 clinical trials for pulmonary arterial hypertension, they may be further developed for the simultaneous treatment of fibrosis and vascular disease in systemic sclerosis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Rheumatology Clinic and Institute of Physical Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:19 Nov 2014 08:20
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 08:12
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0003-4967
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204508
PubMed ID:24567525

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