Objectives The novel small molecule 9-chloro-2,3-dimethyl-6-(N,N-dimethylaminoethylamino-2-oxoethyl)-6H-indolo[2,3-b] quinoxaline (Rabeximod) reduces severity of arthritis in rodent models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS). This study aimed to investigate the cellular target in vivo.
Methods Collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA) is induced by monoclonal collagen type II antibodies and enhanced by lipopolysaccharide. It was investigated how and when Rabeximod operates on inflammatory cells after stimulation of either Toll-like receptor (TLR)4 (lipopolysaccharide) or TLR2 (lipomannan) in mice lacking functional signalling through TLR4 due to a spontaneous deletion of the Tlr4 gene.
Results Rabeximod efficiently prevented arthritis during the time window when TLR2 or TLR4 ligands activate inflammatory macrophages. The effect operated downstream of TLR activation as Rabeximod was highly therapeutic in CAIA enhanced through TLR2 stimuli in TLR4 deficient mice. In addition, it was found that the arthritis ameliorating effect of Rabeximod was time dependent, since inhibition of tumour necrosis factor α production from macrophages in vitro was more pronounced if administered close to stimulation.
Conclusions Rabeximod suppresses arthritis by preventing activation of inflammatory cells, most likely macrophages, in a time dependent fashion, downstream of TLR2 and TLR4 stimulation.
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