The antiproliferative drug doxorubicin inhibits liver fibrosis in bile duct-ligated rats and can be selectively delivered to hepatic stellate cells in vivo

R Greupink*, HI Bakker, W Bouma, C Reker-Smit, DKF Meijer, L Beljaars, K Poelstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hepatic stellate cell (HSC) proliferation is a key event in liver fibrosis; therefore, pharmacological intervention with antiproliferative drugs may result in antifibrotic effects. In this article, the antiproliferative effect of three cytostatic drugs was tested in cultured rat HSC. Subsequently, the antifibrotic potential of the most potent drug was evaluated in vivo. As a strategy to overcome drug-related toxicity, we additionally studied how to deliver this drug specifically to HSC by conjugating it to the HSC-selective drug carrier mannose-6-phosphate-modified human serum albumin (M6PHSA). We investigated the effect of cisplatin, chlorambucil, and doxorubicin (DOX) on 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation in cultured HSC and found DOX to be the most potent drug. Treatment of bile duct-ligated (BDL) rats with daily i.v. injections of 0.35 mg/kg DOX from day 3 to 10 after BDL reduced alpha-smooth muscle actin-stained area in liver sections from 8.5 +/- 0.8 to 5.1 +/- 0.9% (P +/- 0.01) and collagen-stained area from 13.1 +/- 1.3 to 8.9 +/- 1.5% (P +/- 0.05). DOX was coupled to M6PHSA, and the organ distribution of this construct (M6PHSA-DOX) was investigated. Twenty minutes after i.v. administration, 50 +/- 6% of the dose was present in the livers, and colocalization of M6PHSA-DOX with HSC markers was observed. In addition, in vitro studies showed selective binding of M6PHSA-DOX to activated HSC. Moreover, M6PHSA-DOX strongly attenuated HSC proliferation in vitro, indicating that active drug is released after uptake of the conjugate. DOX inhibits liver fibrosis in BDL rats, and HSC-selective targeting of this drug is possible. This may offer perspectives for the application of antiproliferative drugs for antifibrotic purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-521
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume317
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2006

Keywords

  • MANNOSE 6-PHOSPHATE
  • RECEPTOR
  • PROLIFERATION
  • CONJUGATE
  • INJURY
  • TISSUE

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