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Cell Death Differ. 2013 Apr;20(4):567-75. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2012.154. Epub 2012 Dec 7.

Gene expression signature-based approach identifies a pro-resolving mechanism of action for histone deacetylase inhibitors.

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Barts and The London School of Medicine, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, EC1M 6BQ, London, UK.


Despite several therapies being currently available to treat inflammatory diseases, new drugs to treat chronic conditions with less side effects and lower production costs are still needed. An innovative approach to drug discovery, the Connectivity Map (CMap), shows how integrating genome-wide gene expression data of drugs and diseases can accelerate this process. Comparison of genome-wide gene expression data generated with annexin A1 (AnxA1) with the CMap revealed significant alignment with gene profiles elicited by histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs), what made us to hypothesize that AnxA1 might mediate the anti-inflammatory actions of HDACIs. Addition of HDACIs (valproic acid, sodium butyrate and thricostatin A) to mouse macrophages caused externalization of AnxA1 with concomitant inhibition of cytokine gene expression and release, events that occurred independently as this inhibition was retained in AnxA1 null macrophages. In contrast, novel AnxA1-mediated functions for HDACIs could be unveiled, including promotion of neutrophil apoptosis and macrophage phagocytosis, both steps crucial for effective resolution of inflammation. In a model of acute resolving inflammation, administration of valproic acid and sodium butyrate to mice at the peak of disease accelerated resolution processes in wild type, but much more modestly in AnxA1 null mice. Deeper analyses revealed a role for endogenous AnxA1 in the induction of neutrophil death in vivo by HDACIs. In summary, interrogation of the CMap revealed an unexpected association between HDACIs and AnxA1 that translated in mechanistic findings with particular impact on the processes that regulate the resolution of inflammation. We propose non-genomic modulation of AnxA1 in immune cells as a novel mechanism of action for HDACIs, which may underlie their reported efficacy in models of chronic inflammatory pathologies.

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