Molecular and cellular biochemistry

Triazole RGD antagonist reverts TGFβ1-induced endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition in endothelial precursor cells.

PMID 27761847


Fibrosis is the dramatic consequence of a dysregulated reparative process in which activated fibroblasts (myofibroblasts) and Transforming Growth Factor β1 (TGFβ1) play a central role. When exposed to TGFβ1, fibroblast and epithelial cells differentiate in myofibroblasts; in addition, endothelial cells may undergo endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT) and actively participate to the progression of fibrosis. Recently, the role of αv integrins, which recognize the Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) tripeptide, in the release and signal transduction activation of TGFβ1 became evident. In this study, we present a class of triazole-derived RGD antagonists that interact with αvβ3 integrin. Above different compounds, the RGD-2 specifically interferes with integrin-dependent TGFβ1 EndoMT in Endothelial Colony-Forming Cells (ECPCs) derived from circulating Endothelial Precursor Cells (ECPCs). The RGD-2 decreases the amount of membrane-associated TGFβ1, and reduces both ALK5/TGFβ1 type I receptor expression and Smad2 phosphorylation in ECPCs. We found that RGD-2 antagonist reverts EndoMT, reducing α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and vimentin expression in differentiated ECPCs. Our results outline the critical role of integrin in fibrosis progression and account for the opportunity of using integrins as target for anti-fibrotic therapeutic treatment.

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