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J Biochem. 1994 Oct;116(4):892-7.

Tranilast, a selective inhibitor of collagen synthesis in human skin fibroblasts.

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Department of Dermatology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo.


Effects of tranilast, N-(3,4-dimethoxycinnamoyl)anthranilic acid, on collagen synthesis in cultured human skin fibroblasts were studied. Tranilast was found to inhibit collagen synthesis in a dose-dependent manner to a maximum of 55% at 300 microM during 48 h of treatment; the synthesis of type I and type III collagens was equally affected. Administered simultaneously or subsequently, tranilast reduced the stimulatory effect of transforming growth factor beta 1 (2.5 ng/ml) on collagen synthesis without affecting the accompanying stimulation of noncollagen protein synthesis. It did not affect prolyl or lysyl hydroxylase activity in vitro and in cells. The content of pro alpha 1(I) collagen mRNA was decreased 60% by tranilast. Tranilast prevented the TGF beta 1-mediated increase in pro alpha 1(I) collagen mRNA. These results indicate that tranilast specifically inhibits collagen production at a pretranslational level by interfering with TGF beta 1 effects. Tranilast also inhibited collagen synthesis in scleroderma fibroblasts to the same extent and in keloid fibroblasts to a greater extent than in normal fibroblasts, attesting to its therapeutic potential as an antifibrotic drug.

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