Background: Disease-related injury in any organ triggers a complex cascade of cellular and molecular responses that culminate in tissue fibrosis, inflammation, and angiogenesis simultaneously. Multiple cell angiogenesis is an essential part of the tissue damage response, which is involved in fibrosis development. RC28-E is a novel recombinant dual decoy receptor lgG1 Fc-fusion protein that can block vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFA), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) simultaneously. This protein has stepped into clinical trials (NCT03777254) for the treatment of pathological neovascularization-related diseases. Here, we report on the role of RC28-E during anti-fibrosis and its potential multitarget function in regulating fibrosis. Methods: A bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis C57BL/6 mouse model was established. Hematoxylin and eosin staining (HE) and Masson staining (Masson’s) were performed to evaluate the pulmonary fibrosis based on the scoring from, Ashcroft score. Fibrosis related factors and inflammatory cytokines including HYP, α-SMA, procollagen, ICAM, IL-6, IL-1, and TNF-α were also determined at the protein and mRNA levels to characterize the fibrosis. Both mRNA and protein levels of VEGF, FGF, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β were detected by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis, respectively. Pulmonary fibrosis and related cytokines were re-evaluated in vivo after 3 doses of RC28-E (5 mg/kg, 15 mg/kg, and 50 mg/kg, ip. Tiw × 9) in comparison with a mono-target antagonist treatment (VEGF or FGF blocking). RC28-E attenuated the activation of TGF-β induced fibroblasts in vitro. Expression levels of α-SMA and collagen I, as well as proliferation and migration, were determined with the human skin fibroblast cell line Detroit 551 and primary murine pulmonary fibroblast cells. The mechanism of RC28-E via the TGF-β/Smad pathway was also investigated. Results: RC28-E exhibits significant anti-fibrosis effects on Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in vivo. Moreover, TGF-β induced fibroblast activation in vitro via the inhibition of the TGF-β downstream Smad pathway, thus providing potential therapeutics for clinical disease-related fibrosis-like IPF as well as chemotherapy-induced fibrosis in cancer therapy.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited