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MAP3K19 Is a Novel Regulator of TGF-β Signaling That Impacts Bleomycin-Induced Lung Injury and Pulmonary Fibrosis

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, debilitating disease for which two medications, pirfenidone and nintedanib, have only recently been approved for treatment. The cytokine TGF-β has been shown to be a central mediator in the disease process. We investigated the role of a novel kinase, MAP3K19, upregulated in IPF tissue, in TGF-β-induced signal transduction and in bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. MAP3K19 has a very limited tissue expression, restricted primarily to the lungs and trachea. In pulmonary tissue, expression was predominantly localized to alveolar and interstitial macrophages, bronchial epithelial cells and type II pneumocytes of the epithelium. MAP3K19 was also found to be overexpressed in bronchoalveolar lavage macrophages from IPF patients compared to normal patients. Treatment of A549 or THP-1 cells with either MAP3K19 siRNA or a highly potent and specific inhibitor reduced phospho-Smad2 & 3 nuclear translocation following TGF-β stimulation. TGF-β-induced gene transcription was also strongly inhibited by both the MAP3K19 inhibitor and nintedanib, whereas pirfenidone had a much less pronounced effect. In combination, the MAP3K19 inhibitor appeared to act synergistically with either pirfenidone or nintedanib, at the level of target gene transcription or protein production. Finally, in an animal model of IPF, inhibition of MAP3K19 strongly attenuated bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis when administered either prophylactically ortherapeutically. In summary, these results strongly suggest that inhibition of MAP3K19 may have a beneficial therapeutic effect in the treatment of IPF and represents a novel strategy to target this disease.

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S2907 Pirfenidone Pirfenidone is an inhibitor for TGF-β production and TGF-β stimulated collagen production, reduces production of TNF-α and IL-1β, and also has anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Phase 3. (12) (3)

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