Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

A Small Molecule Inhibitor of ITK and RLK Impairs Th1 Differentiation and Prevents Colitis Disease Progression.

PMID 26466958


In T cells, the Tec kinases IL-2-inducible T cell kinase (ITK) and resting lymphocyte kinase (RLK) are activated by TCR stimulation and are required for optimal downstream signaling. Studies of CD4(+) T cells from Itk(-/-) and Itk(-/-)Rlk(-/-) mice have indicated differential roles of ITK and RLK in Th1, Th2, and Th17 differentiation and cytokine production. However, these findings are confounded by the complex T cell developmental defects in these mice. In this study, we examine the consequences of ITK and RLK inhibition using a highly selective and potent small molecule covalent inhibitor PRN694. In vitro Th polarization experiments indicate that PRN694 is a potent inhibitor of Th1 and Th17 differentiation and cytokine production. Using a T cell adoptive transfer model of colitis, we find that in vivo administration of PRN694 markedly reduces disease progression, T cell infiltration into the intestinal lamina propria, and IFN-γ production by colitogenic CD4(+) T cells. Consistent with these findings, Th1 and Th17 cells differentiated in the presence of PRN694 show reduced P-selectin binding and impaired migration to CXCL11 and CCL20, respectively. Taken together, these data indicate that ITK plus RLK inhibition may have therapeutic potential in Th1-mediated inflammatory diseases.