Therapeutic effect of ibrutinib, a selective Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in orbital fibroblasts from patients with Graves' orbitopathy

Hyun Young Park, Min Kyung Chae, Jae Sang Ko, Don O. Kikkawa, Sun Young Jang, Jin Sook Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) is an essential protein in B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) signaling pathway and is known to be related to pathogenetic effect on B-cell related malignancies and various autoimmune diseases. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effect of ibrutinib, an orally bioavailable BTK inhibitor in the pathogenesis of Graves' orbitopathy (GO) in in vitro model. Methods Expression of BTK in orbital tissues from GO and normal control subjects were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Primary cultured orbital fibroblasts from each subject were exposed to ibrutinib and stimulated with interleukin (IL)-1β or insulin like growth factor (IGF)-1. Production of inflammatory cytokines was evaluated by real time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). The downstream transcription factors were also determined by western blot assays. Results The expression of BTK in GO tissues were significantly higher than in healthy controls. After stimulation of GO orbital fibroblasts with IL-1β or IGF-1, BTK mRNA and phosphorylated (p)- BTK protein expression was also enhanced. Ibrutinib reduced the expression of BTK mRNA and proteins of p-BTK, and inhibited the IL-1β- and IGF-1-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines including IL-6, IL-8 and COX-2 in both GO and normal cells. Ibrutinib also significantly attenuated phosphorylation of Akt, p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain- enhancer of activated B-cells (NF-κB) in IL-1β stimulated GO cells and Akt, JNK, and NF-κB in IL-1β stimulated normal cells. Conclusions BTK expression is enhanced in GO tissue and orbital fibroblasts. Ibrutinib, a BTK inhibitor suppresses proinflammatory cytokine production as well as phosphorylation of Akt and NF- κB protein. Our results suggest the potential role of BTK in GO inflammatory pathogenesis and possibility of a novel therapeutic target of GO.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0279060
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

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© 2022 Park et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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