Publications by authors named "Xiaohua Xue"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Preclinical and clinical characterization of the RORγt inhibitor JNJ-61803534.

Sci Rep 2021 May 26;11(1):11066. Epub 2021 May 26.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, La Jolla, CA, USA.

The nuclear receptor retinoid-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) plays a critical role in driving Th17 cell differentiation and expansion, as well as IL-17 production in innate and adaptive immune cells. The IL-23/IL-17 axis is implicated in several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and biologics targeting IL-23 and IL-17 have shown significant clinical efficacy in treating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. JNJ-61803534 is a potent RORγt inverse agonist, selectively inhibiting RORγt-driven transcription versus closely-related family members, RORα and RORβ. JNJ-61803534 inhibited IL-17A production in human CD4 T cells under Th17 differentiation conditions, but did not inhibit IFNγ production under Th1 differentiation conditions, and had no impact on in vitro differentiation of regulatory T cells (Treg), nor on the suppressive activity of natural Tregs. In the mouse collagen-induced arthritis model, JNJ-61803534 dose-dependently attenuated inflammation, achieving ~ 90% maximum inhibition of clinical score. JNJ-61803534 significantly inhibited disease score in the imiquimod-induced mouse skin inflammation model, and dose-dependently inhibited the expression of RORγt-regulated genes, including IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-22 and IL-23R. Preclinical 1-month toxicity studies in rats and dogs identified doses that were well tolerated supporting progression into first-in-human studies. An oral formulation of JNJ-61803534 was studied in a phase 1 randomized double-blind study in healthy human volunteers to assess safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. The compound was well tolerated in single ascending doses (SAD) up to 200 mg, and exhibited dose-dependent increases in exposure upon oral dosing, with a plasma half-life of 164 to 170 h. In addition, dose-dependent inhibition of ex vivo stimulated IL-17A production in whole blood was observed, demonstrating in vivo target engagement. In conclusion, JNJ-61803534 is a potent and selective RORγt inhibitor that exhibited acceptable preclinical safety and efficacy, as well as an acceptable safety profile in a healthy volunteer SAD study, with clear evidence of a pharmacodynamic effect in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90497-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8155022PMC
May 2021

[Early differential diagnosis between COVID-19 and mycoplasma pneumonia with chest CT scan].

Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban 2020 Aug;49(4):468-473

Shandong Medical Imaging Research Institute, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan 250021, China.

Objective: To early differentiate between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and adult mycoplasma pneumonia with chest CT scan.

Methods: Twenty-six patients with COVID-19 and 21 patients with adult mycoplasma pneumonia confirmed with RT-PCR test were enrolled from Zibo First Hospital and Lanshan People's Hospital during December 1st 2019 and March 14th 2020. The early chest CT manifestations were analyzed and compared between the two groups.

Results: The interstitial changes with ground glass density shadow (GGO) were similar in two groups during first chest CT examination (>0.05). There were more lung lobes involved on the first chest CT in COVID-19 patients, which were mostly distributed in the dorsal outer zone (23/26, 88.5%), and nearly half of them (12/26, 46.2%) were accompanied by crazy-paving sign; while the lesions in adult mycoplasma pneumonia patients were mostly distributed along the bronchi, and the bronchial wall was thickened (19/21, 90.5%), accompanied with tree buds / fog signs (19/21, 90.5%). The above CT signs were significantly different between the two kinds of pneumonia (all <0.01). COVID-19 had a longer course compared with mycoplasma pneumonia, the disease peaks of COVID-19 patients was on day (10.5±3.8), while the disease on CT was almost absorbed on day (7.9±2.2) in adult mycoplasma pneumonia. The length of hospital stay in COVID-19 patients was significantly longer than that of mycoplasma pneumonia patients [(19.5±4.3) d vs (7.9±2.2) d, <0.01].

Conclusions: The lesions of adult mycoplasma pneumonia are mostly distributed along the bronchi with tree buds/fog signs, while the lesions of COVID-19 are mainly distributed in the dorsal outer zone accompanied by crazy-paving sign, which can early distinguish two diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3785/j.issn.1008-9292.2020.07.04DOI Listing
August 2020

Optimization and biological evaluation of thiazole-bis-amide inverse agonists of RORγt.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2020 06 21;30(12):127205. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Janssen Research and Development, LLC, San Diego, CA 92121, USA. Electronic address:

The nuclear receptor retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) is a transcription factor that drives Th17 cell differentiation and IL-17 production in both innate and adaptive immune cells. The IL-23/IL-17 pathway is implicated in major autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. RORγt lies at the core of this pathway and represents an attractive opportunity for intervention with small molecule therapeutics. Despite diverse chemical series having been reported, combining high potency and nuclear receptor selectivity with good physicochemical properties remains a challenging endeavor in the field of RORγt drug discovery. We recently described the discovery and evaluation of a new class of potent and selective RORγt inverse agonists based on a thiazole scaffold. Herein we describe the successful optimization of this class by incorporation of an additional amide moiety at the 4-position of the thiazole core. In several optimization cycles, we have reduced human PXR activation, improved solubility, and increased potency while maintaining nuclear receptor selectivity. X-ray crystallographic analysis of compound 1g bound in the sterol binding site of the ligand binding domain of RORγt was largely consistent with an earlier structure, guiding further insight into the molecular mechanism for RORγt inhibition with this series. Compound 1g is orally bioavailable, potent in a human whole blood assay and proved to be efficacious in an ex-vivo IL-17A assay, and was selected for preclinical evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2020.127205DOI Listing
June 2020

Discovery and optimization of new oxadiazole substituted thiazole RORγt inverse agonists through a bioisosteric amide replacement approach.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2020 06 7;30(12):127174. Epub 2020 Apr 7.

Janssen Research and Development, LLC, San Diego, CA 92121, USA. Electronic address:

Starting from previously identified thiazole-2-carboxamides exemplified by compound 1/6, two new series of RORγt inverse agonists with significantly improved aqueous solubility, ADME parameters and oral PK properties were discovered. These scaffolds were identified from a bioisosteric amide replacement approach. Amongst the variety of heterocycles explored, a 1,3,4-oxadiazole led to compounds with the best overall profile for SAR development and in vivo exploration. In an ex vivo mouse PD model, concentration dependent efficacy was demonstrated and compounds 3/5 and 6/3 were profiled in a 5-day rat tolerability study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2020.127174DOI Listing
June 2020

3-Substituted Quinolines as RORγt Inverse Agonists.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2019 06 12;29(12):1463-1470. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

Discovery Product Development and Supply, Janssen Research and Development, Welsh and McKean Roads, Spring House, PA 19477, United States.

We have previously reported the syntheses of a series of 3,6-disubstituted quinolines as modulators of the retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt). These molecules are potent binders but are high molecular weight and they exhibited poor solubility at pH 2 and pH 7. This manuscript details our efforts at improving physical chemical properties for this series of compounds by increasing the diversity at the 3-position (i.e. introducing heteroatoms and lowering the molecular weight). These efforts have led to molecules which are potent binders with improved solubility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2019.04.021DOI Listing
June 2019

Identification and biological evaluation of thiazole-based inverse agonists of RORγt.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2018 05 3;28(9):1446-1455. Epub 2018 Apr 3.

Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG, Waldhofer Strasse 104, 69123 Heidelberg, Germany.

The nuclear receptor retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) is a transcription factor that drives Th17 cell differentiation and IL-17 production in both innate and adaptive immune cells. The IL-23/IL-17 pathway is implicated in major autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. RORγt lies at the core of this pathway and represents an attractive opportunity for intervention with a small molecule. Despite diverse chemical series having been reported, combining high potency and nuclear receptor selectivity with good physicochemical properties remains a challenging endeavor in the field of RORγt drug discovery. We describe the discovery and evaluation of a new class of potent and selective RORγt inverse agonists based on a thiazole core. Acid analog 1j demonstrated oral bioavailability in rats and was potent in a human whole blood assay, suggesting potential utility in treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis. X-ray crystallographic data helped to elucidate the molecular mechanism for RORγt inhibition with this series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2018.03.093DOI Listing
May 2018

Importation of Mumps Virus Genotype K to China from Vietnam.

Emerg Infect Dis 2018 04;24(4):774-778

During May-August 2016, mumps virus genotype K was detected in 12 Vietnam citizens who entered China at the Shuikou border crossing and 1 girl from China. We provide evidence that mumps genotype K is circulating in Vietnam and was imported to China from Vietnam.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2404.170591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5875267PMC
April 2018

6-Substituted quinolines as RORγt inverse agonists.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2017 12 16;27(23):5277-5283. Epub 2017 Oct 16.

Discovery Immunology, Janssen Research and Development, LLC, Welsh and McKean Roads, Spring House, PA 19477, United States.

We identified 6-substituted quinolines as modulators of the retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt). The synthesis of this class of RORγt modulators is reported, and optimization of the substituents at the quinoline 6-position that produced compounds with high affinity for the receptor is detailed. This effort identified molecules that act as potent, full inverse agonists in a RORγt-driven cell-based reporter assay. The X-ray crystal structures of two full inverse agonists from this chemical series bound to the RORγt ligand binding domain are disclosed, and we highlight the interaction of a hydrogen-bond acceptor on the 6-position substituent of the inverse agonist with Glu379:NH as a conserved binding contact.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2017.10.027DOI Listing
December 2017

RORγt and RORα signature genes in human Th17 cells.

PLoS One 2017 1;12(8):e0181868. Epub 2017 Aug 1.

Janssen R&D LLC, San Diego, California, United States of America.

RORγt and RORα are transcription factors of the RAR-related orphan nuclear receptor (ROR) family. They are expressed in Th17 cells and have been suggested to play a role in Th17 differentiation. Although RORγt signature genes have been characterized in mouse Th17 cells, detailed information on its transcriptional control in human Th17 cells is limited and even less is known about RORα signature genes which have not been reported in either human or mouse T cells. In this study, global gene expression of human CD4 T cells activated under Th17 skewing conditions was profiled by RNA sequencing. RORγt and RORα signature genes were identified in these Th17 cells treated with specific siRNAs to knock down RORγt or RORα expression. We have generated selective small molecule RORγt modulators and they were also utilized as pharmacological tools in RORγt signature gene identification. Our results showed that RORγt controlled the expression of a very selective number of genes in Th17 cells and most of them were regulated by RORα as well albeit a weaker influence. Key Th17 genes including IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-23R, CCL20 and CCR6 were shown to be regulated by both RORγt and RORα. Our results demonstrated an overlapping role of RORγt and RORα in human Th17 cell differentiation through regulation of a defined common set of Th17 genes. RORγt as a drug target for treatment of Th17 mediated autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis has been demonstrated recently in clinical trials. Our results suggest that RORα could be involved in same disease mechanisms and gene signatures identified in this report could be valuable biomarkers for tracking the pharmacodynamic effects of compounds that modulate RORγt or RORα activities in patients.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181868PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5538713PMC
October 2017

Identification and structure activity relationships of quinoline tertiary alcohol modulators of RORγt.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2017 05 21;27(9):2047-2057. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Discovery Immunology, Janssen Research and Development, Welsh and McKean Roads, Spring House, PA 19477, United States. Electronic address:

A high-throughput screen of the ligand binding domain of the nuclear receptor retinoic acid-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) employing a thermal shift assay yielded a quinoline tertiary alcohol hit. Optimization of the 2-, 3- and 4-positions of the quinoline core using structure-activity relationships and structure-based drug design methods led to the discovery of a series of modulators with improved RORγt inhibitory potency and inverse agonism properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2017.02.044DOI Listing
May 2017

Pharmacologic modulation of RORγt translates to efficacy in preclinical and translational models of psoriasis and inflammatory arthritis.

Sci Rep 2016 12 1;6:37977. Epub 2016 Dec 1.

Janssen Research &Development, La Jolla, California, United States.

The IL-23/IL-17 pathway is implicated in autoimmune diseases, particularly psoriasis, where biologics targeting IL-23 and IL-17 have shown significant clinical efficacy. Retinoid-related orphan nuclear receptor gamma t (RORγt) is required for Th17 differentiation and IL-17 production in adaptive and innate immune cells. We identified JNJ-54271074, a potent and highly-selective RORγt inverse agonist, which dose-dependently inhibited RORγt-driven transcription, decreased co-activator binding and promoted interaction with co-repressor protein. This compound selectively blocked Th17 differentiation, significantly reduced IL-17A production from memory T cells, and decreased IL-17A- and IL-22-producing human and murine γδ and NKT cells. In a murine collagen-induced arthritis model, JNJ-54271074 dose-dependently suppressed joint inflammation. Furthermore, JNJ-54271074 suppressed IL-17A production in human PBMC from rheumatoid arthritis patients. RORγt-deficient mice showed decreased IL-23-induced psoriasis-like skin inflammation and cytokine gene expression, consistent with dose-dependent inhibition in wild-type mice through oral dosing of JNJ-54271074. In a translational model of human psoriatic epidermal cells and skin-homing T cells, JNJ-54271074 selectively inhibited streptococcus extract-induced IL-17A and IL-17F. JNJ-54271074 is thus a potent, selective RORγt modulator with therapeutic potential in IL-23/IL-17 mediated autoimmune diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep37977DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5131364PMC
December 2016

Oxysterols are agonist ligands of RORγt and drive Th17 cell differentiation.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Aug 4;111(33):12163-8. Epub 2014 Aug 4.

Janssen Research and Development, Spring House, PA 19002.

The RAR-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) is a nuclear receptor required for generating IL-17-producing CD4(+) Th17 T cells, which are essential in host defense and may play key pathogenic roles in autoimmune diseases. Oxysterols elicit profound effects on immune and inflammatory responses as well as on cholesterol and lipid metabolism. Here, we describe the identification of several naturally occurring oxysterols as RORγt agonists. The most potent and selective activator for RORγt is 7β, 27-dihydroxycholesterol (7β, 27-OHC). We show that these oxysterols reverse the inhibitory effect of an RORγt antagonist, ursolic acid, in RORγ- or RORγt-dependent cell-based reporter assays. These ligands bind directly to recombinant RORγ ligand binding domain (LBD), promote recruitment of a coactivator peptide, and reduce binding of a corepressor peptide to RORγ LBD. In primary cells, 7β, 27-OHC and 7α, 27-OHC enhance the differentiation of murine and human IL-17-producing Th17 cells in an RORγt-dependent manner. Importantly, we showed that Th17, but not Th1 cells, preferentially produce these two oxysterols. In vivo, administration of 7β, 27-OHC in mice enhanced IL-17 production. Mice deficient in CYP27A1, a key enzyme in generating these oxysterols, showed significant reduction of IL-17-producing cells, including CD4(+) and γδ(+) T cells, similar to the deficiency observed in RORγt knockout mice. Our results reveal a previously unknown mechanism for selected oxysterols as immune modulators and a direct role for CYP27A1 in generating these RORγt agonist ligands, which we propose as RORγt endogenous ligands, driving both innate and adaptive IL-17-dependent immune responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1322807111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4143045PMC
August 2014

Quantitation of leukotriene B(4) in human sputum as a biomarker using UPLC-MS/MS.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2013 Aug 20;932:59-65. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Drug Safety Sciences, Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson, Raritan, NJ 08869, USA.

Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) is a potent mediator of inflammation and has been recognized as an important target for therapeutic intervention for treatment of diseases such as asthma. In the current work, a highly selective and sensitive UPLC-MS/MS assay was developed for quantitation of LTB4 in human sputum as a biomarker for LTB4 biosynthesis inhibition. A fit-for-purpose strategy for method development, assay qualification, and study support was adopted for this biomarker project. A surrogate matrix (protein buffer) was used for preparation of calibration samples and certain levels of quality control (QC) samples to avoid interference from endogenous analyte, while the low QC was prepared in authentic matrix, human sputum. The analytical methodology utilized a liquid-liquid extraction procedure in 96-well plate format. Chromatographic separation was achieved with a reversed-phase ultra high pressure liquid chromatography (UPLC) column using gradient elution, and the run time was 4.5min per sample. The lower limit of quantitation (LLOQ) was 0.2ng/mL, and the calibration curve range was 0.2-20ng/mL. Acceptable accuracy, precision, linearity, specificity, recovery, and matrix effect was obtained. Bench-top stability (6h), freeze-thaw stability (3 cycles at -20°C), and autosampler stability (97h at ambient temperature) all met acceptance criteria. Frozen long-term stability for 166 days at -20°C in sputum did not meet acceptance criteria by showing only ≥75% of nominal concentration and the information was taken into consideration for study support. Two important observations in the current work were: (1) LTB4 was unstable in sputum in the presence of liquification reagent dithiothreitol (DTT). Therefore, a non-DTT treatment method for sputum processing was developed and applied to the bioanalytical assay and clinical study support; and (2) chromatographic separation of LTB4 from its three non-enzymatically derived isomers, i.e. 6-trans-LTB4, 12-epi-LTB4, and 6-trans-12-epi-LTB4, was achieved. This assay was successfully applied to a Phase II clinical study for proof-of-concept of a LTA4 hydrolase inhibitor for treatment of asthma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2013.06.010DOI Listing
August 2013

A highly sensitive and selective method for the determination of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) in ex vivo stimulated human plasma by ultra fast liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2013 Apr 8;925:54-62. Epub 2013 Mar 8.

Frontage Laboratories Inc., 700 Pennsylvania Drive, Exton, PA 19341, USA.

Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) is an important inflammatory component in a number of diseases and has been used as a pharmacodynamic (PD) biomarker. In this report, a highly sensitive and selective ultra fast liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UFLC-MS/MS) method for the determination of LTB4 in plasma from ex vivo stimulated human blood, using leukotriene B4-d4 (LTB4-d4, contains four deuterium atoms at the 6, 7, 14, and 15 positions) as the internal standard (IS), was developed and validated. The chromatographic separation of LTB4 from its three isomers and an unknown interference peak from human plasma was crucial to achieve accurate determination of 0.2 ng/mL (LLOQ) of LTB4. LTB4 and the IS were extracted with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) from 200 μL human plasma. Reversed-phase HPLC separation was carried out with a Phenomenex Synergi Hydro-RP column (100mm×3mm, 2.5 μm). MS/MS detection was set at mass transitions of 335.0→194.9 m/z for LTB4 and 339.0→196.9 m/z for LTB4-d4 in Turbo Ionization Spray (TIS) negative mode. The dynamic range of the method is 0.2-200 ng/mL. LTB4 was found to be stable in human plasma for at least three freeze (-20 °C)/thaw cycles, and on the benchtop (room temperature) for at least 6h. The stock solution storage stability study demonstrated that the LTB4 stock solution, in 50:50 acetonitrile:water, was stable at 4 °C for at least 198 days. The processed samples were found to be stable for at least 72 h at room temperature. The long-term sample storage stability test demonstrated that LTB4 human plasma samples were stable at a storage temperature of -20 °C for at least 198 days. In addition, intraday and interday accuracy and precision, sensitivity, linearity, and recovery were evaluated. An additional partial validation was conducted to decrease the plasma sample volume from 200 to 100 μL. All the data reported in this study fulfilled the requirements and recommendations in the FDA guidance for bioanalytical method validation. Comparison of the validated UFLC-MS/MS method with an ELISA method using ex vivo stimulated samples indicated that although results from the two assays correlated relatively well, the UFLC-MS/MS method has been shown to be superior in selectivity and dynamic range to an ELISA method in our study. The validated UFLC-MS/MS method was successfully used to analyze samples generated from two clinical studies. The excellent assay performance and incurred sample reproducibility (ISR) results obtained from the study sample analysis demonstrated the assay is robust and reliable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2013.02.038DOI Listing
April 2013

Identification of benzofuran central cores for the inhibition of leukotriene A(4) hydrolase.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2013 Feb 5;23(3):811-5. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.

Leukotrienes (LT's) are known to play a physiological role in inflammatory immune response. Leukotriene A(4) hydrolase (LTA(4)H) is a cystolic enzyme that stereospecifically catalyzes the transformation of LTA(4) to LTB(4). LTB(4) is a known pro-inflammatory mediator. This paper describes the identification and synthesis of substituted benzofurans as LTH(4)H inhibitors. The benzofuran series demonstrated reduced mouse and human whole blood LTB(4) levels in vitro and led to the identification one analog for advanced profiling. Benzofuran 28 showed dose responsive target engagement and provides a useful tool to explore a LTA(4)H inhibitor for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.11.074DOI Listing
February 2013

Azabenzthiazole inhibitors of leukotriene A₄ hydrolase.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2012 Dec 17;22(24):7504-11. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Janssen Research & Development LLC, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, United States.

Previously, benzthiazole containing LTA(4)H inhibitors were discovered that were potent (1-3), but were associated with the potential for a hERG liability. Utilizing medicinal chemistry first principles (e.g., introducing rigidity, lowering cLogD) a new benzthiazole series was designed, congeners of 1-3, which led to compounds 7a, 7c, 12a-d which exhibited LTA(4)H IC(50)=3-6 nM and hERG Dofetilide Binding IC(50)=8.9-> >10 μM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.10.036DOI Listing
December 2012

Leukotriene A(4) hydrolase inhibition attenuates allergic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2010 May 28;181(9):899-907. Epub 2010 Jan 28.

Immunology, Johnson & Johnson PRD, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.

Rationale: Allergic asthma is characterized by reversible airway obstruction, lung inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Previous studies using leukotriene B(4) (LTB(4)) receptor 1-deficient mice and adoptive transfer experiments have suggested that LTB(4) plays a role in lung inflammation and AHR.

Objectives: In this study, we used a leukotriene A(4) hydrolase (LTA(4)H) inhibitor as a pharmacological tool to directly examine the role of LTB(4) in a mast cell-dependent murine model of allergic airway inflammation.

Methods: We used the forced oscillation technique to test the effects of an LTA(4)H inhibitor dosed during the challenge phase on AHR. Lung tissue and lavage were collected for analysis.

Measurements And Main Results: Treatment with an LTA(4)H inhibitor improved multiple parameters encompassing AHR and lung function. Significant decreases in inflammatory leukocytes, cytokines, and mucin were observed in the lung lumen. Serum levels of antigen-specific IgE and IgG1 were also decreased. Labeled antigen uptake by lung dendritic cells and subsequent trafficking to draining lymph nodes and the lung were decreased on LTA(4)H inhibitor treatment. Provocatively, inhibition of LTA(4)H increased lipoxin A(4) levels in lung lavage fluid.

Conclusions: These data suggest that LTB(4) plays a key role in driving lung inflammation and AHR. Mechanistically, we provide evidence that inhibition of LTA(4)H, affects recruitment of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, as well as trafficking of dendritic cells to draining lymph nodes, and may beneficially modulate other pro- and antiinflammatory eicosanoids in the lung. Inhibition of LTA(4)H is thus a potential therapeutic strategy that could modulate key aspects of asthma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.200807-1158OCDOI Listing
May 2010

Identification of a potent, selective, and orally active leukotriene a4 hydrolase inhibitor with anti-inflammatory activity.

J Med Chem 2008 Jul 28;51(14):4150-69. Epub 2008 Jun 28.

Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C., 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, USA.

LTA 4H is a ubiquitously distributed 69 kDa zinc-containing cytosolic enzyme with both hydrolase and aminopeptidase activity. As a hydrolase, LTA 4H stereospecifically catalyzes the transformation of the unstable epoxide LTA 4 to the diol LTB 4, a potent chemoattractant and activator of neutrophils and a chemoattractant of eosinophils, macrophages, mast cells, and T cells. Inhibiting the formation of LTB 4 is expected to be beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), asthma, and atherosclerosis. We developed a pharmacophore model using a known inhibitor manually docked into the active site of LTA 4H to identify a subset of compounds for screening. From this work we identified a series of benzoxazole, benzthiazole, and benzimidazole inhibitors. SAR studies resulted in the identification of several potent inhibitors with an appropriate cross-reactivity profile and excellent PK/PD properties. Our efforts focused on further profiling JNJ 27265732, which showed encouraging efficacy in a disease model relevant to IBD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm701575kDOI Listing
July 2008

Anti-inflammatory activity of a potent, selective leukotriene A4 hydrolase inhibitor in comparison with the 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor zileuton.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2007 Jun 19;321(3):1154-60. Epub 2007 Mar 19.

Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development LLC, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.

Leukotriene A(4) hydrolase (LTA(4)H) catalyzes production of the proinflammatory lipid mediator, leukotriene (LT) B(4), which is implicated in a number of inflammatory diseases. We have identified a potent and selective inhibitor of both the epoxide hydrolase and aminopeptidase activities of recombinant human LTA(4)H (IC(50), approximately 10 nM). In a murine model of arachidonic acid-induced ear inflammation, the LTA(4)H inhibitor, JNJ-26993135 (1-[4-(benzothiazol-2-yloxy)-benzyl]-piperidine-4-carboxylic acid), dose-dependently inhibited ex vivo LTB(4) production in blood, in parallel with dose-dependent inhibition of neutrophil influx (ED(50), 1-3 mg/kg) and ear edema. In murine whole blood and in zymosan-induced peritonitis, JNJ-26993135 selectively inhibited LTB(4) production, without affecting cysteinyl leukotriene production, while maintaining or increasing production of the anti-inflammatory mediator, lipoxin (LX) A(4). The 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) inhibitor zileuton showed inhibition of LTB(4), LTC(4), and LXA(4) production. Although zileuton inhibited LTB(4) production in the peritonitis model more effectively than the LTA(4)H inhibitor, the influx of neutrophils into the peritoneum after 1 and 2 h was significantly higher in zileuton- versus JNJ-26993135-treated animals. This difference may have been mediated by the increased LXA(4) levels in the presence of the LTA(4)H inhibitor. The selective inhibition of LTB(4) production by JNJ-26993135, while increasing levels of the anti-inflammatory mediator, LXA(4), may translate to superior therapeutic efficacy versus 5-LO or 5-LO-activating protein inhibitors in LTB(4)-mediated inflammatory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.106.115436DOI Listing
June 2007

Anti-inflammatory activity in vitro and in vivo of the protein farnesyltransferase inhibitor tipifarnib.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2006 Apr 13;317(1):53-60. Epub 2005 Dec 13.

Alza/Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development-La Jolla, San Diego, California, USA.

Protein farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) have shown clinical responses in hematologic malignancies, but the mechanisms are unclear. To better understand potential mechanisms of action, we have studied effects of the FTI tipifarnib on inflammatory responses in vitro and in vivo. In a human leukemia cell line THP-1, tipifarnib inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced transcription of chemokines [monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 and MCP-2], cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, and interferon (IFN)beta], signaling molecules (MyD88 and STAT-1), proteases [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-9)], and receptors (urokinase receptor). Tipifarnib also inhibited LPS-induced secretion of MMP-9, IL-6, MCP-1, and IL-1beta in THP-1 cells. In primary human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, dose-dependent inhibition of LPS-induced tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, IL-6, MCP-1, and IL-1beta by tipifarnib was observed with no evidence of cytotoxicity. Similar results were obtained in vivo in a murine model of LPS-induced inflammation, where pretreatment with tipifarnib resulted in significant inhibition of TNF-alpha, IL-6, MCP-1, IL-1beta, and MIP-1alpha production. Tipifarnib had no effect in vitro or in vivo on LPS-induced IL-8. Studies in THP-1 cells to address potential mechanism(s) showed that tipifarnib partially inhibited LPS-induced p38 phosphorylation. Tipifarnib significantly inhibited inhibitory subunit of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) (IkappaB)-alpha degradation and p65 nuclear translocation induced by LPS, but not by tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-1alpha, or toll-like receptor (TLR)2 ligand, suggesting that the target for inhibition of NF-kappaB activation was exclusive to the LPS/TLR4 signal pathway. The extent of IkappaB-alpha degradation inhibition did not correlate with inhibition of Ras farnesylation, indicating that Ras was not the target for the observed anti-inflammatory activity of tipifarnib. Our findings differ from those for other FTIs, which may have relevance for their dissimilar activity in specific tumor repertoires.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.105.095976DOI Listing
April 2006
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