Immunotoxicity assessment for the novel Spleen tyrosine kinase inhibitor R406

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Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) is a novel pharmaceutical target for treatment of allergic, autoimmune, and neoplastic disorders. Previous studies have indicated that Syk signaling plays critical roles in regulating the lymphohematopoietic system. These observations prompted us to investigate whether inhibition of Syk would promote immunotoxicity. In a series of studies, rats were treated orally with R406, at dose levels up to and including 100 mg/kg/day (or its prodrug R788 at dose levels up to and including 100 mg/kg/day, reduced to 50 mg/kg/day for females as MTD was exceeded), a potent Syk inhibitor, twice daily for 28 days. In addition to standard toxicological assessments, immunophenotyping by flow cytometric analysis, and a study of humoral immune response measuring anti-KLH IgM and IgG levels, were undertaken. Other immunotoxicity studies included three host resistance models in female Balb/c mice to further ascertain effects of R406 on innate and acquired immunity. Following R406 treatment, expected immunomodulating effects (e.g., decreased thymic and spleen weight, hypocellularity of bone marrow, and reduced lymphocyte counts, including T and B cells) were observed in the rat studies. These changes essentially resolved during a 14-day treatment-free recovery period. A KLH challenge in rats demonstrated no adverse effects on IgG or IgM response. R788/406, administered orally at dose levels up to and including 80 mg/kg/day for 28 days, did not affect bacterial or viral clearance in the Listeria, Streptococcal, or Influenza host resistance mouse models, respectively. This correlated with previous in vitro macrophage and neutrophil function assays (assessing migration, phagocytosis, oxidative burst and microbicidal activity), which revealed that R406 did not adversely affect macrophage or neutrophil function in innate immune responses. Collectively, these results demonstrate that R406 has minimal functional immunotoxicity notwithstanding its lymphocytopenic effect, suggesting that inhibition of Syk might not lead to unacceptable mechanism-based adverse effects.

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