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Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Apr 1;41(6):3947-61. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt078. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of novel antagonist compounds of Toll-like receptors 7, 8 and 9.

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Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 167 Sidney Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Oligonucleotides containing an immune-stimulatory motif and an immune-regulatory motif act as antagonists of Toll-like receptor (TLR)7 and TLR9. In the present study, we designed and synthesized oligonucleotide-based antagonists of TLR7, 8 and 9 containing a 7-deaza-dG or arabino-G modification in the immune-stimulatory motif and 2'-O-methylribonucleotides as the immune-regulatory motif. We evaluated the biological properties of these novel synthetic oligoribonucleotides as antagonists of TLRs 7, 8 and 9 in murine and human cell-based assays and in vivo in mice and non-human primates. In HEK293, mouse and human cell-based assays, the antagonist compounds inhibited signaling pathways and production of a broad range of cytokines, including tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-12, IL-6, interferon (IFN)-α, IL-1β and interferon gamma-induced protein (IP)-10, mediated by TLR7, 8 and 9. In vivo in mice, the antagonist compounds inhibited TLR7- and TLR9-mediated cytokine induction in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from antagonist compound-treated monkeys secreted lower levels of TLR7-, 8- and 9-mediated cytokines than did PBMCs taken before antagonist administration. The antagonist compounds described herein provide novel agents for the potential treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

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