In vitroandex vivoanti-fibrotic effects of LY2109761, a small molecule inhibitor against TGF-β

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Fibrosis is a pathophysiological state characterized by the excessive formation/deposition of fibrous extracellular matrix. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) is a central profibrotic mediator, and targeting TGF-β is a promising strategy in the development of drugs for the treatment of fibrosis. Therefore, the effect of LY2109761, a small molecule inhibitor against TGF-β with targets beyond TGF-β signaling, on fibrogenesis was elucidated in vitro (HepG2 cells and LX-2 cells) and ex vivo (human and rat precision-cut liver slices). Our results displayed an anti-fibrotic effect of LY2109761, as it markedly down-regulated gene and protein expression of collagen type 1, as well as gene expression of the inhibitor of metalloproteinases 1. This effect on fibrosis markers was partially mediated by targeting TGF-β signaling, seeing that LY2109761 inhibited TGF-β1 gene expression and SMAD2 protein phosphorylation. Interestingly, particularly at a high concentration, LY2109761 decreased SMAD1 protein phosphorylation and gene expression of the inhibitor of DNA binding 1, which appeared to be TGF-β-independent effects. In conclusion, LY2109761 exhibited preclinical anti-fibrotic effects via both TGF-β-dependent and -independent pathways. These results illustrate that small molecule inhibitors directed against TGF-β could possibly influence numerous signaling pathways and thereby mitigate fibrogenesis.HIGHLIGHTSLY2109761 elicits anti-fibrotic effects both in vitro and ex vivo.At low concentrations, LY2109761 mainly affects the TGF-β pathway.LY2109761 has targets beyond TGF-β signaling, increasing its anti-fibrotic efficacy.SMAD1 and ID1 are novel and interesting therapeutic targets for drug development.

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