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Arthritis Res Ther. 2011 Jul 13;13(4):R115. doi: 10.1186/ar3400.

The Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor PCI-32765 ameliorates autoimmune arthritis by inhibition of multiple effector cells.

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  • 1Pharmacyclics, Inc, Research Department, Sunnyvale, CA 94085-4521, USA.



The aim was to determine the effect of the Bruton tyrosine kinase (Btk)-selective inhibitor PCI-32765, currently in Phase I/II studies in lymphoma trials, in arthritis and immune-complex (IC) based animal models and describe the underlying cellular mechanisms.


PCI-32765 was administered in a series of murine IC disease models including collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA), reversed passive anaphylactic reaction (RPA), and passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA). Clinical and pathologic features characteristic of each model were examined following treatment. PCI-32765 was then examined in assays using immune cells relevant to the pathogenesis of arthritis, and where Btk is thought to play a functional role. These included proliferation and calcium mobilization in B cells, cytokine and chemokine production in monocytes/macrophages, degranulation of mast cells and its subsequent cytokine/chemokine production.


PCI-32765 dose-dependently and potently reversed arthritic inflammation in a therapeutic CIA model with an ED(50) of 2.6 mg/kg/day. PCI-32765 also prevented clinical arthritis in CAIA models. In both models, infiltration of monocytes and macrophages into the synovium was completely inhibited and importantly, the bone and cartilage integrity of the joints were preserved. PCI-32765 reduced inflammation in the Arthus and PCA assays. In vitro, PCI-32765 inhibited BCR-activated primary B cell proliferation (IC(50) = 8 nM). Following FcγR stimulation, PCI-32765 inhibited TNFα, IL-1β and IL-6 production in primary monocytes (IC(50) = 2.6, 0.5, 3.9 nM, respectively). Following FcεRI stimulation of cultured human mast cells, PCI-32765 inhibited release of histamine, PGD(2), TNF-α, IL-8 and MCP-1.


PCI-32765 is efficacious in CIA, and in IC models that do not depend upon autoantibody production from B cells. Thus PCI-32765 targets not only B lymphocytes but also monocytes, macrophages and mast cells, which are important Btk-expressing effector cells in arthritis.

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