Highly selective inhibition of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase attenuates skin and brain disease in murine lupus

Posted on 2018-01-25 - 05:00
Abstract Background Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects different end organs, including skin and brain. We and others have previously shown the importance of macrophages in the pathogenesis of cutaneous and neuropsychiatric lupus. Additionally, autoantibodies produced by autoreactive B cells are thought to play a role in both the skin and central nervous system pathologies associated with SLE. Methods We used a novel inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), BI-BTK-1, to target both macrophage and B cell function in the MRL-lpr/lpr murine model of SLE, and examined the effect of treatment on skin and brain disease. Results We found that treatment with BI-BTK-1 significantly attenuated the lupus associated cutaneous and neuropsychiatric disease phenotypes in MRL/lpr mice. Specifically, BI-BTK-1 treated mice had fewer macroscopic and microscopic skin lesions, reduced cutaneous cellular infiltration, and diminished inflammatory cytokine expression compared to control mice. BTK inhibition also significantly improved cognitive function, and decreased accumulation of T cells, B cells, and macrophages within the central nervous system, specifically the choroid plexus. Conclusions Directed therapies may improve the response rate in lupus-driven target organ involvement, and decrease the dangerous side effects associated with global immunosuppression. Overall, our results suggest that inhibition of BTK may be a promising therapeutic option for cutaneous and neuropsychiatric disease associated with SLE.


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