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FASEB J. 2012 Jul;26(7):2877-87. doi: 10.1096/fj.11-201004. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

An antagonist of human protease activated receptor-2 attenuates PAR2 signaling, macrophage activation, mast cell degranulation, and collagen-induced arthritis in rats.

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Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Multiple serine proteases exert proinflammatory actions by signaling through protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) on the cell surface. Although inhibitors of individual proteases are anti-inflammatory, we sought to discover whether the first potent antagonist of their common target PAR2 might be beneficial in treating chronic arthritis-like inflammatory disease. Using a fluorescence assay, a novel compound, GB88, was shown to antagonize PAR2-induced intracellular Ca(2+) release in human monocyte-derived macrophages, being 1000 times more potent than a control compound, ENMD-1068 (IC(50) 1.6 ± 0.5 μM vs. 1.2 ± 0.4 mM, respectively). In Wistar rats, GB88 was orally bioavailable (F=55%, T(max) 4 h, C(max) 1.7 μM, 10 mg/kg). GB88 inhibited the acute paw edema induced in Wistar rats by intraplantar λ-carrageenan or PAR2 agonists 2-furoyl-LIGRLO-NH(2) or mast cell β-tryptase, without inhibiting proteolytic activity of tryptase in vitro. In the chronic collagen-induced model of arthritis in rats, GB88 (10 mg/kg) was disease modifying and ameliorated pathological and histopathological changes (edema, pannus formation, synovial hyperplasia, collagen degradation, macrophage invasion, mast cell degranulation) compared to untreated arthritic controls. The results suggest that an orally active PAR2 antagonist is effective in treating chronic arthritis in rats through inhibiting macrophage infiltration, mast cell degranulation, and β-tryptase-PAR2 signaling in joint inflammation.

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