Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (DAH) is one of the most serious clinical complications of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The prevalence of DAH is reported to range from 1 to 5%, but while DAH is considered a rare complication there is a reported 50–80% mortality. There is at present no proven effective treatment for DAH and the therapeutics that have been tested have significant side effects. There is a clear necessity to discover new drugs to improve outcomes in DAH. Serine protease inhibitors, serpins, regulate thrombotic and thrombolytic protease cascades. We are investigating a Myxomavirus derived immune modulating serpin, Serp-1, as a new class of immune modulating therapeutics for vasculopathy and lung hemorrhage. Serp-1 has proven efficacy in models of herpes virus-induced arterial inflammation (vasculitis) and lung hemorrhage and has also proved safe in a clinical trial in patients with unstable coronary syndromes and stent implant. Here, we examine Serp-1, both as a native secreted protein expressed by CHO cells and as a polyethylene glycol modified (PEGylated) variant (Serp-1m5), for potential therapy in DAH. DAH was induced by intraperitoneal (IP) injection of pristane in C57BL/6J (B6) mice. Mice were treated with 100 ng/g bodyweight of either Serp-1 as native 55 kDa secreted glycoprotein, or as Serp-1m5, or saline controls after inducing DAH. Treatments were repeated daily for 14 days (6 mice/group). Serp-1 partially and Serp-1m5 significantly reduced pristane-induced DAH when compared with saline as assessed by gross pathology and H&E staining (Serp-1, p = 0.2172; Serp-1m5, p = 0.0252). Both Serp-1m5 and Serp-1 treatment reduced perivascular inflammation and reduced M1 macrophage (Serp-1, p = 0.0350; Serp-1m5, p = 0.0053), hemosiderin-laden macrophage (Serp-1, p = 0.0370; Serp-1m5, p = 0.0424) invasion, and complement C5b/9 staining. Extracellular urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor positive (uPAR+) clusters were significantly reduced (Serp-1, p = 0.0172; Serp-1m5, p = 0.0025). Serp-1m5 also increased intact uPAR+ alveoli in the lung (p = 0.0091). In conclusion, Serp-1m5 significantly reduces lung damage and hemorrhage in a pristane model of SLE DAH, providing a new potential therapeutic approach.
- diffuse alveolar hemorrhage
- immune modulator
- recombinant protein therapeutic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine