Background (5R)-5-hydroxytriptolide (LLDT-8), a triptolide derivative with low toxicity, was previously reported to have strong immunosuppressive effects both in vitro and in vivo, but it remains unknown whether LLDT-8 has a therapy effect on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods In vivo, the therapeutic effects of LLDT-8 in MRL/lpr mice were investigated. Ex vivo, the mechanisms of treatment were explored according to the immunologic correlates of disease. In vitro, human proximal tubule epithelial cell line and mouse mesangial cell line were used to evaluate the regulatory effects of LLDT-8 on chemokine expression.
Results Compared with the vehicle group, different clinical parameters were improved upon LLDT-8 treatment as follows: prolonged life span of mice, decreased proteinuria, downregulated blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine, reduced glomerular IgG deposits, and ameliorated histopathology. A decreased expression of the inflammatory cytokines IFN-γ, IL-17, IL-6, and TNF-α was also observed in the kidney of LLDT-8 treated MRL/lpr mice. Moreover, infiltration of T cells in the kidney was mitigated after LLDT-8 treatment, corresponding with decreased expression of related chemokines IP-10, Mig, and RANTES in the kidney. The proportion of macrophage and neutrophil cells and related chemokines expression was also reduced in kidneys of LLDT-8-treated mice. In the human proximal tubule epithelial cell line and mouse mesangial cell line, consistent with our in vivo experimental results, LLDT-8 suppressed the expression of related chemokines and IL-6.
Conclusions In summary, LLDT-8 has a therapeutic benefit for lupus nephritis via suppressing chemokine expression and inhibiting immune cell infiltration in kidneys of MRL/lpr mice.
This study was supported by National Science & Technology Major Project ‘Key New Drug Creation and Manufacturing Program,’ China (2014ZX09101002-001).
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