Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is hampered by chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), resulting in multiorgan fibrosis and diminished function. Fibrosis in lung and skin leads to progressive bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) and scleroderma, respectively, for which new treatments are needed. We evaluated pirfenidone, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, for its therapeutic effect in cGVHD mouse models with distinct pathophysiology. In a full major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-mismatched, multiorgan system model with BO, donor T-cell responses that support pathogenic antibody production are required for cGVHD development. Pirfenidone treatment beginning one month post-transplant restored pulmonary function and reversed lung fibrosis, which was associated with reduced macrophage infiltration and transforming growth factor-β production. Pirfenidone dampened splenic germinal center B-cell and T-follicular helper cell frequencies that collaborate to produce antibody. In both a minor histocompatibility antigen–mismatched as well as a MHC-haploidentical model of sclerodermatous cGVHD, pirfenidone significantly reduced macrophages in the skin, although clinical improvement of scleroderma was only seen in one model. In vitro chemotaxis assays demonstrated that pirfenidone impaired macrophage migration to monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) as well as IL-17A, which has been linked to cGVHD generation. Taken together, our data suggest that pirfenidone is a potential therapeutic agent to ameliorate fibrosis in cGVHD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute grants P01 CA142106-06A1, R01CA122779, and 5P01-CA047741-20; National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grants R01 HL126530 and K08HL107756; National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grants P01 AI 056299, R01 AI 091627, and T32 AI 007313; and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society translational research grants 6458-15 and 6462-15.
© 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.