Scientific reports

TLR4 antagonist FP7 inhibits LPS-induced cytokine production and glycolytic reprogramming in dendritic cells, and protects mice from lethal influenza infection.

PMID 28106157


Dysregulated Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 activation is involved in acute systemic sepsis, chronic inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis and diabetes, and in viral infections, such as influenza infection. Thus, therapeutic control of the TLR4 signalling pathway is of major interest. Here we tested the activity of the small-molecule synthetic TLR4 antagonist, FP7, in vitro on human monocytes and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) and in vivo during influenza virus infection of mice. Our results indicate that FP7 antagonized the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, and MIP-1β) by monocytes and DCs (IC50 < 1 μM) and prevented DC maturation upon TLR4 activation by ultrapure lipopolysaccharide (LPS). FP7 selectively blocked TLR4 stimulation, but not TLR1/2, TLR2/6, or TLR3 activation. TLR4 stimulation of human DCs resulted in increased glycolytic activity that was also antagonized by FP7. FP7 protected mice from influenza virus-induced lethality and reduced both proinflammatory cytokine gene expression in the lungs and acute lung injury (ALI). Therefore, FP7 can antagonize TLR4 activation in vitro and protect mice from severe influenza infection, most likely by reducing TLR4-dependent cytokine storm mediated by damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) like HMGB1.