Lupus nephritis (LN) is the most frequent phenotype in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and has a high rate of progression to end-stage renal disease, in spite of intensive treatment and maintenance therapies. Recent evidence suggests that protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) is a therapeutic target for glomerulonephritis. In this study, we performed a cell-based high-throughput screening and identified a novel potent PAR2 antagonist, punicalagin (PCG, a major polyphenol enriched in pomegranate), and evaluated the effects of PCG on LN. The effect of PCG on PAR2 inhibition was observed in the human podocyte cell line and its effect on LN was evaluated in NZB/W F1 mice. In the human podocyte cell line, PCG potently inhibited PAR2 (IC50 = 1.5 ± 0.03 µM) and significantly reduced the PAR2-mediated activation of ERK1/2 and NF-κB signaling pathway. In addition, PCG significantly decreased PAR2-induced increases in ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 as well as in IL-8, IFN-γ, and TNF-α expression. Notably, the intraperitoneal administration of PCG significantly alleviated kidney injury and splenomegaly and reduced proteinuria and renal ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression in NZB/W F1 mice. Our results suggest that PCG has beneficial effects on LN via inhibition of PAR2, and PCG is a potential therapeutic agent for LN.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2017R1D1A1B03029050), a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2016-0159) to Sang-Won Lee, NRF (2015R1D1A1A01057695 and 2018R1A6A1A03023718) to W.N., and NRF (2019R1I1A1A01061117) to Y.S. This research was supported (in part) by the Yonsei University Research Fund (Post Doc. Researcher Supporting Program) of 2019 (project no.: 2019-12-0013).
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry