The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) plays a central role in the progression of renal fibrosis. TGF-β transduces its signal through the activin receptor-like kinase (ALK)5. IN-1130, a novel small molecule ALK5 inhibitor, inhibited the purified kinase domain of ALK5-mediated Smad3 phosphorylation with an IC50 value of 5.3 nM. IN-1130 proved to be highly selective in a panel of 27 serine/threonine and tyrosine kinases including p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase. We evaluated the efficacy of IN-1130 to block renal fibrogenesis induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) in rats. Either vehicle (saline) or IN-1130 (10 and 20 mg/kg/day) was intraperitoneally administered to UUO rats for 7 and 14 days. Phosphorylated Smad2 (pSmad2) and markers of fibrosis were analyzed in kidney tissues. In UUO control kidneys, interstitial fibrosis including tubular atrophy, loss and dilation, inflammatory cell infiltration, and fibroblast cell proliferation was prominent. These morphological changes were notably reduced by IN-1130 treatment. IN-1130 decreased levels of TGF-β1 messenger RNA (mRNA), type I collagen mRNA, and pSmad2, compared to UUO control rats. As determined by measuring the hydroxyproline content, total kidney collagen amount was increased in UUO control kidneys, but significantly reduced by IN-1130 treatment, which was comparable to results of histochemical staining for collagen. IN-1130 also suppressed the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and fibronectin in UUO kidneys. Our results show that IN-1130 suppressed the fibrogenic process of UUO, further underscoring the potential clinical benefits of IN-1130 in the treatment of renal fibrosis.
- Renal fibrosis