Raloxifene and n-Acetylcysteine ameliorate TGF-signalling in fibroblasts from patients with recessive dominant epidermolysis bullosa

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Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a severe skin disease caused by mutation of the COL7A1 gene. RDEB is associated with high levels of TGF-beta1, which is likely to be involved in the fibrosis that develops in this disease. Endoglin (CD105) is a type III coreceptor for TGF-beta1 and its overexpression in fibroblasts deregulates physiological Smad/Alk1/Alk5 signalling, repressing the synthesis of TGF-beta1 and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Raloxifene is a specific estrogen receptor modulator designated as an orphan drug for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a rare vascular disease. Raloxifene stimulates endoglin synthesis, which could attenuate fibrosis. By contrast, the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine may have therapeutic value to rectify inflammation, fibrosis and endothelial dysfunction. Thus, we present here a repurposing strategy based on the molecular and functional screening of fibroblasts from RDEB patients with these drugs, leading us to propose the repositioning of these two well-known drugs currently in clinical use, raloxifene and N-acetylcysteine, to counteract fibrosis and inflammation in RDEB. Both compounds modulate the profibrotic events that may ultimately be responsible for the clinical manifestations in RDEB, suggesting that these findings may also be relevant for other diseases in which fibrosis is an important pathophysiological event.
Epidermolysis bullosa, TGF-fibrosis, Raloxifene, N-acetylcysteine, Endoglin, Smad, ALK1/5, Drug repurposing
Bibliographic citation
Aguado, T., García, M., García, A., Ferrer-Mayorga, G., Martínez-Santamaría, L., del Río, M., Botella, L.-M., & Sánchez-Puelles, J.-M. (2020). Raloxifene and n-Acetylcysteine Ameliorate TGF-Signalling in Fibroblasts from Patients with Recessive Dominant Epidermolysis Bullosa. Cells, 9 (9), p. 2108.