Introduction: The purine analog 6-thioguanine (6TG), an old drug approved in the 60s to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), was tested in the diabetic retinopathy (DR) experimental in vivo setting along with a molecular modeling approach.Methods: A computational analysis was performed to investigate the interaction of 6TG with MC1R and MC5R. This was confirmed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) exposed to high glucose (25 mM) for 24 h. Cell viability in HUVECs exposed to high glucose and treated with 6TG (0.05-0.5-5 mu M) was performed. To assess tube formation, HUVECs were treated for 24 h with 6TG 5 mu M and AGRP (0.5-1-5 mu M) or PG20N (0.5-1-5-10 mu M), which are MC1R and MC5R antagonists, respectively. For the in vivo DR setting, diabetes was induced in C57BL/6J mice through a single streptozotocin (STZ) injection. After 2, 6, and 10 weeks, diabetic and control mice received 6TG intravitreally (0.5-1-2.5 mg/kg) alone or in combination with AGRP or PG20N. Fluorescein angiography (FA) was performed after 4 and 14 weeks after the onset of diabetes. After 14 weeks, mice were euthanized, and immunohistochemical analysis was performed to assess retinal levels of CD34, a marker of endothelial progenitor cell formation during neo-angiogenesis.Results: The computational analysis evidenced a more stable binding of 6TG binding at MC5R than MC1R. This was confirmed by the tube formation assay in HUVECs exposed to high glucose. Indeed, the anti-angiogenic activity of 6TG was eradicated by a higher dose of the MC5R antagonist PG20N (10 mu M) compared to the MC1R antagonist AGRP (5 mu M). The retinal anti-angiogenic effect of 6TG was evident also in diabetic mice, showing a reduction in retinal vascular alterations by FA analysis. This effect was not observed in diabetic mice receiving 6TG in combination with AGRP or PG20N. Accordingly, retinal CD34 staining was reduced in diabetic mice treated with 6TG. Conversely, it was not decreased in diabetic mice receiving 6TG combined with AGRP or PG20N.Conclusion: 6TG evidenced a marked anti-angiogenic activity in HUVECs exposed to high glucose and in mice with DR. This seems to be mediated by MC1R and MC5R retinal receptors.

Ocular pharmacological and biochemical profiles of 6-thioguanine: a drug repurposing study

Gesualdo, Carlo;Petrillo, Francesco;Bucolo, Claudio;Lazzara, Francesca;Platania, Chiara Bianca Maria
2024-01-01

Abstract

Introduction: The purine analog 6-thioguanine (6TG), an old drug approved in the 60s to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), was tested in the diabetic retinopathy (DR) experimental in vivo setting along with a molecular modeling approach.Methods: A computational analysis was performed to investigate the interaction of 6TG with MC1R and MC5R. This was confirmed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) exposed to high glucose (25 mM) for 24 h. Cell viability in HUVECs exposed to high glucose and treated with 6TG (0.05-0.5-5 mu M) was performed. To assess tube formation, HUVECs were treated for 24 h with 6TG 5 mu M and AGRP (0.5-1-5 mu M) or PG20N (0.5-1-5-10 mu M), which are MC1R and MC5R antagonists, respectively. For the in vivo DR setting, diabetes was induced in C57BL/6J mice through a single streptozotocin (STZ) injection. After 2, 6, and 10 weeks, diabetic and control mice received 6TG intravitreally (0.5-1-2.5 mg/kg) alone or in combination with AGRP or PG20N. Fluorescein angiography (FA) was performed after 4 and 14 weeks after the onset of diabetes. After 14 weeks, mice were euthanized, and immunohistochemical analysis was performed to assess retinal levels of CD34, a marker of endothelial progenitor cell formation during neo-angiogenesis.Results: The computational analysis evidenced a more stable binding of 6TG binding at MC5R than MC1R. This was confirmed by the tube formation assay in HUVECs exposed to high glucose. Indeed, the anti-angiogenic activity of 6TG was eradicated by a higher dose of the MC5R antagonist PG20N (10 mu M) compared to the MC1R antagonist AGRP (5 mu M). The retinal anti-angiogenic effect of 6TG was evident also in diabetic mice, showing a reduction in retinal vascular alterations by FA analysis. This effect was not observed in diabetic mice receiving 6TG in combination with AGRP or PG20N. Accordingly, retinal CD34 staining was reduced in diabetic mice treated with 6TG. Conversely, it was not decreased in diabetic mice receiving 6TG combined with AGRP or PG20N.Conclusion: 6TG evidenced a marked anti-angiogenic activity in HUVECs exposed to high glucose and in mice with DR. This seems to be mediated by MC1R and MC5R retinal receptors.
2024
6-thioguanine
angiogenesis
diabetic retinopathy
drug discovery
melanocortin receptors
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/613689
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