Emphysema, a major component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a leading cause of human death worldwide. The progressive deterioration of lung function that occurs in the disease is caused by chronic inflammation of the airway and destruction of the lung parenchyma. Despite the main impact of inflammation on the pathogenesis of emphysema, current therapeutic regimens mainly offer symptomatic relief and preservation of lung function with little therapeutic impact. In the present study, we aimed to discover novel therapeutics that suppress the pathogenesis of emphysema. Here, we show that LJ-2698, a novel and highly selective antagonist of the adenosine A3 receptor, a G protein-coupled receptor involved in various inflammatory diseases, significantly reversed the elastase-induced destructive changes in murine lungs. We found that LJ-2698 significantly prevented elastase-induced airspace enlargement, resulting in restoration of pulmonary function without causing any obvious changes in body weight in mice. LJ-2698 was found to inhibit matrix metalloproteinase activity and pulmonary cell apoptosis in the murine lung. LJ-2698 treatment induced increases in anti-inflammatory cytokines in macrophages at doses that displayed no significant cytotoxicity in normal cell lines derived from various organs. Treatment with LJ-2698 significantly increased the number of anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages in the lungs. These results implicate the adenosine A3 receptor in the pathogenesis of emphysema. Our findings also demonstrate the potential of LJ-2698 as a novel therapeutic/preventive agent in suppressing disease development with limited toxicity.
- Adenosine A receptor