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Neutrophils are involved in the alveolitis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). However, their pathogenic mechanisms are still poorly understood. Nintedanib has antifibrotic and anti-inflammatory activity in IPF. This study aimed to investigate the regulatory mechanism of nintedanib on neutrophil chemotaxis in bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Nintedanib was administered via oral gavage to male C57BL/6 mice 24 h after a bleomycin intratracheal injection (1.5 U/kg). Lung histopathological findings, the expression of cytokines, and the regulatory signaling pathways of neutrophil chemotaxis were analyzed. The effect of nintedanib was also investigated in a mouse model with adoptive neutrophil transfer in vivo. Nintedanib significantly decreased the histopathological changes and neutrophil recruitment in BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Nintedanib mediated a downregulation of chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 2 (CXCR2) and very late antigen 4 (VLA-4) expression, as well as an upregulation of G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) activity in peripheral blood neutrophils in BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Nintedanib also decreased the activation of endothelial cells by the decreased expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1). The effect of nintedanib on regulating neutrophil chemotaxis was also confirmed by a mouse model with adoptive neutrophil transfer in vivo. In conclusion, nintedanib reduces neutrophil chemotaxis and endothelial cell activation to regulate the severity of BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis. These effects are associated with an enhancement of GRK2 activity and a reduction in CXCR2 and VLA-4 expression on neutrophils and a decrease in VCAM-1 expression on endothelial cells.


Wei-Chih Chen, Nien-Jung Chen, Hsin-Pai Chen, Wen-Kuang Yu, Vincent Yi-Fong Su, Hao Chen, Huai-Hsuan Wu, Kuang-Yao Yang. Nintedanib Reduces Neutrophil Chemotaxis via Activating GRK2 in Bleomycin-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Jul 02;21(13)

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PMID: 32630825

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