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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2012 May;341(2):493-9. doi: 10.1124/jpet.111.190660. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Prevention of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis in mice by a novel approach of parallel inhibition of cyclooxygenase and nitric-oxide donation using NCX 466, a prototype cyclooxygenase inhibitor and nitric-oxide donor.

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Department of Anatomy, Histology, and Forensic Medicine, Section of Histology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.


Cyclooxygenase (COX)-inhibiting nitric oxide (NO) donors (CINODs) are designed to inhibit COX-1 and COX-2 while releasing NO. COX inhibition is responsible for anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, whereas NO donation can improve microcirculation and exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions. In an in vivo mouse model of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, we evaluated whether a prototype CINOD compound, (S)-(5S)-5,6-bis(nitrooxy)hexyl)2-(6-methoxynaphthalen-2-yl)propanoate (NCX 466), may show an advantage over naproxen, its congener drug not releasing NO. Bleomycin (0.05 IU) was instilled intratracheally to C57BL/6 mice, which were then treated orally with vehicle, NCX 466 (1.9 or 19 mg/kg), or an equimolar dose of naproxen (1 or 10 mg/kg) once daily for 14 days. Afterward, airway resistance, assumed as lung stiffness index, was assayed, and lung specimens were collected for analysis of lung inflammation and fibrosis. NCX 466 and naproxen dose-dependently prevented bleomycin-induced airway stiffness and collagen accumulation. NCX 466, at the highest dose, was significantly more effective than naproxen in reducing the levels of the profibrotic cytokine transforming growth factor-β and the oxidative stress markers thiobarbituric acid reactive substance and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine. NCX 466 also decreased myeloperoxidase activity, a leukocyte recruitment index, to a greater extent than naproxen. A similar inhibition of prostaglandin E₂ was achieved by both compounds. In conclusion, NCX 466 has shown a significantly higher efficacy than naproxen in reducing lung inflammation and preventing collagen accumulation. These findings suggest that COX inhibition along with NO donation may possess a therapeutic potential in lung inflammatory diseases with fibrotic outcome.

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