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Exp Lung Res. 2007 Sep;33(7):357-73.

Imatinib mesylate inhibits fibrogenesis in asbestos-induced interstitial pneumonia.

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Department of Medicine and Division of Pulmonary Medicine, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


Profibrogeneic cytokines contribute to the accumulation of myofibroblasts in the lung interstitium in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Imatinib mesylate, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor specific for Abl, platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) and c-Kit tyrosine kinases, has been shown to inhibit fibrosis and profibrotic signaling in mouse models of inflammation-mediated lung reactions. The authors tested imatinib mesylate in vivo in a mouse model of crocidolite asbestos-induced progressive fibrosis. The ability of imatinib mesylate to inhibit profibrogeneic cytokine-induced human pulmonary fibroblast migration was tested in vitro and the expression of its target protein tyrosine kinases was assessed with immunofluorescence. In vivo, 10 mg/kg/day imatinib mesylate inhibited histological parenchymal fibrosis and led to a decrease in collagen deposition, but had no significant effect on asbestos-induced neutrophilia. However, 50 mg/kg/day imatinib mesylate did not inhibit collagen deposition. In vitro, IPF fibroblasts expressed Abl, PDGFR-alpha, PDGF-beta, but not c-Kit, and 1 microM imatinib mesylate inhibited profibrogeneic cytokine-induced IPF fibroblast migration. These results suggest that imatinib mesylate is a potential and specific inhibitor of fibroblast accumulation in asbestos-induced pulmonary fibrosis.

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