Eosinophil as a cellular target of the ocular anti-allergic action of mapracorat, a novel selective glucocorticoid receptor agonist.
Glucocorticoids can either suppress gene transcription (transrepression) or activate it (transactivation). This latter process may contribute to certain side effects caused by these agents. Mapracorat (also known as BOL-303242-X or ZK 245186) is a novel selective glucocorticoid receptor agonist that maintains a beneficial anti-inflammatory activity but seems to be less effective in transactivation, resulting in a lower potential for side effects; it has been proposed for the topical treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. This study assessed the anti-allergic activity of mapracorat at the ocular level and whether eosinophils and mast cells are targets of its action.
With in vitro studies apoptosis was evaluated in human eosinophils by flow cytometry and western blot of caspase-3 fragments. Eosinophil migration toward platelet-activating factor was evaluated by transwell assays. Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and the chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 5 (CCL5)/regulated upon activation normal T cell expressed, and presumably secreted (RANTES) were measured using a high-throughput multiplex luminex technology. Annexin I and the chemochine receptor C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) were detected by flow cytometry. With in vivo studies, allergic conjunctivitis was induced in guinea pigs sensitized to ovalbumin by an ocular allergen challenge and evaluated by a clinical score. Conjunctival eosinophils were determined by microscopy or eosinophil peroxidase assay.
In cultured human eosinophils, mapracorat showed the same potency as dexamethasone but displayed higher efficacy in increasing spontaneous apoptosis and in counteracting cytokine-sustained eosinophil survival. These effects were prevented by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone. Mapracorat inhibited eosinophil migration and IL-8 release from eosinophils or the release of IL-6, IL-8, CCL5/RANTES, and TNF-α from a human mast cell line with equal potency as dexamethasone, whereas it was clearly less potent than this glucocorticoid in inducing annexin I and CXCR4 expression on the human eosinophil surface; this was taken as a possible sign of glucocorticoid-dependent transactivation. In the guinea pig, mapracorat or dexamethasone eye drops induced an analogous reduction in clinical symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis and conjunctival eosinophil accumulation.
Mapracorat appears to be a promising candidate for the topical treatment of allergic eye disorders. It maintains an anti-allergic profile similar to that of dexamethasone but seems to have fewer transactivation effects in comparison to this classical glucocorticoid. Some of its cellular targets may contribute to eosinophil apoptosis and/or to preventing their recruitment and activation and to inhibiting the release of cytokines and chemokines.
Department of Pharmacology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
SourceMolecular vision 17: 2011 pg 3208-23
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't