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Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 1;6:37977. doi: 10.1038/srep37977.

Pharmacologic modulation of RORγt translates to efficacy in preclinical and translational models of psoriasis and inflammatory arthritis.

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Janssen Research &Development, La Jolla, California, United States.
Translational Immunology (PCB/UB), Department of Physiology and Immunology, Universitat de Barcelona Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Research, Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG, Heidelberg, Germany.
Janssen Research &Development, Spring House, Pennsylvania, United States.


The IL-23/IL-17 pathway is implicated in autoimmune diseases, particularly psoriasis, where biologics targeting IL-23 and IL-17 have shown significant clinical efficacy. Retinoid-related orphan nuclear receptor gamma t (RORγt) is required for Th17 differentiation and IL-17 production in adaptive and innate immune cells. We identified JNJ-54271074, a potent and highly-selective RORγt inverse agonist, which dose-dependently inhibited RORγt-driven transcription, decreased co-activator binding and promoted interaction with co-repressor protein. This compound selectively blocked Th17 differentiation, significantly reduced IL-17A production from memory T cells, and decreased IL-17A- and IL-22-producing human and murine γδ and NKT cells. In a murine collagen-induced arthritis model, JNJ-54271074 dose-dependently suppressed joint inflammation. Furthermore, JNJ-54271074 suppressed IL-17A production in human PBMC from rheumatoid arthritis patients. RORγt-deficient mice showed decreased IL-23-induced psoriasis-like skin inflammation and cytokine gene expression, consistent with dose-dependent inhibition in wild-type mice through oral dosing of JNJ-54271074. In a translational model of human psoriatic epidermal cells and skin-homing T cells, JNJ-54271074 selectively inhibited streptococcus extract-induced IL-17A and IL-17F. JNJ-54271074 is thus a potent, selective RORγt modulator with therapeutic potential in IL-23/IL-17 mediated autoimmune diseases.

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