Journal of radiation research

A novel Nrf2 activator from microbial transformation inhibits radiation-induced dermatitis in mice.

PMID 27242339


Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a transcriptional factor that regulates many antioxidants, and we have recently succeeded in obtaining a novel Nrf2 activator, RS9, from microbial transformation. RS9 is categorized as a triterpenoid, and well-known triterpenoids such as RTA 402 (bardoxolone methyl) and RTA 408 have been tested in clinical trials. RTA 408 lotion is currently being tested in patients at risk for radiation dermatitis. This prompted us to study the profiles of RS9 in the skin. All the above triterpenoids increased the level of an Nrf2-targeted gene, NADPH:quinone oxidoreductase-1, in normal human epidermal keratinocytes. Among them, the activity of RS9 was prominent; furthermore, the cellular toxicity was less compared with RTA compounds. BALB/c mice were irradiated with 30 Gy/day on Day 0, and compounds were topically applied on the back once daily from Day 1 to Day 30. Dermatitis scores peaked on Day 18, with a score of 2.6 in vehicle-treated mice, and topical applications of 0.1% RTA 402, RTA 408 and RS9 reduced the scores to 1.8, 2.0 and 1.4, respectively. Moreover, the percentage of animals with scores ≥2 was analyzed, and 0.1% RS9 suppressed the percentage from 100% to 47%. These results imply that RS9 has potential efficacy for treating radiation dermatitis.