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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Arthritis Research & Therapy 1/2017

Lapachol, a compound targeting pyrimidine metabolism, ameliorates experimental autoimmune arthritis

Zeitschrift:
Arthritis Research & Therapy > Ausgabe 1/2017
Autoren:
Raphael S. Peres, Gabriela B. Santos, Nerry T. Cecilio, Valquíria A. P. Jabor, Michael Niehues, Bruna G. S. Torres, Gabriela Buqui, Carlos H. T. P. Silva, Teresa Dalla Costa, Norberto P. Lopes, Maria C. Nonato, Fernando S. Ramalho, Paulo Louzada-Júnior, Thiago M. Cunha, Fernando Q. Cunha, Flavio S. Emery, Jose C. Alves-Filho
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13075-017-1236-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Background

The inhibition of pyrimidine biosynthesis by blocking the dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) activity, the prime target of leflunomide (LEF), has been proven to be an effective strategy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment. However, a considerable proportion of RA patients are refractory to LEF. Here, we investigated lapachol (LAP), a natural naphthoquinone, as a potential DHODH inhibitor and addressed its immunosuppressive properties.

Methods

Molecular flexible docking studies and bioactivity assays were performed to determine the ability of LAP to interact and inhibit DHODH. In vitro studies were conducted to assess the antiproliferative effect of LAP using isolated lymphocytes. Finally, collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) models were employed to address the anti-arthritic effects of LAP.

Results

We found that LAP is a potent DHODH inhibitor which had a remarkable ability to inhibit both human and murine lymphocyte proliferation in vitro. Importantly, uridine supplementation abrogated the antiproliferative effect of LAP, supporting that the pyrimidine metabolic pathway is the target of LAP. In vivo, LAP treatment markedly reduced CIA and AIA progression as evidenced by the reduction in clinical score, articular tissue damage, and inflammation.

Conclusions

Our findings propose a binding model of interaction and support the ability of LAP to inhibit DHODH, decreasing lymphocyte proliferation and attenuating the severity of experimental autoimmune arthritis. Therefore, LAP could be considered as a potential immunosuppressive lead candidate with potential therapeutic implications for RA.
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