Selective IRAK4 Inhibition Attenuates Disease in Murine Lupus Models and Demonstrates Steroid Sparing Activity
The serine/threonine kinase IL-1R–associated kinase (IRAK)4 is a critical regulator of innate immunity. We have identified BMS-986126, a potent, highly selective inhibitor of IRAK4 kinase activity that demonstrates equipotent activity against multiple MyD88-dependent responses both in vitro and in vivo. BMS-986126 failed to inhibit assays downstream of MyD88-independent receptors, including the TNF receptor and TLR3. Very little activity was seen downstream of TLR4, which can also activate an MyD88-independent pathway. In mice, the compound inhibited cytokine production induced by injection of several different TLR agonists, including those for TLR2, TLR7, and TLR9. The compound also significantly suppressed skin inflammation induced by topical administration of the TLR7 agonist imiquimod. BMS-986126 demonstrated robust activity in the MRL/ lpr and NZB/NZW models of lupus, inhibiting multiple pathogenic responses. In the MRL/ lpr model, robust activity was observed with the combination of suboptimal doses of BMS-986126 and prednisolone, suggesting the potential for steroid sparing activity. BMS-986126 also demonstrated synergy with prednisolone in assays of TLR7- and TLR9-induced IFN target gene expression using human PBMCs. Lastly, BMS-986126 inhibited TLR7- and TLR9-dependent responses using cells derived from lupus patients, suggesting that inhibition of IRAK4 has the potential for therapeutic benefit in treating lupus.
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