Research ArticleFibrosis

A Peptide Derived from Endostatin Ameliorates Organ Fibrosis

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Science Translational Medicine  30 May 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 136, pp. 136ra71
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003421

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Fibroproliferative disorders such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and systemic sclerosis have no effective therapies and result in significant morbidity and mortality due to progressive organ fibrosis. We examined the effect of peptides derived from endostatin on existing fibrosis and fibrosis triggered by two potent mediators, transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β) and bleomycin, in human and mouse tissues in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo. We identified one peptide, E4, with potent antifibrotic activity. E4 prevented TGF-β–induced dermal fibrosis in vivo in a mouse model, ex vivo in human skin, and in bleomycin-induced dermal and pulmonary fibrosis in vivo, demonstrating that E4 exerts potent antifibrotic effects. In addition, E4 significantly reduced existing fibrosis in these preclinical models. E4 amelioration of fibrosis was accompanied by reduced cell apoptosis and lower levels of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme that cross-links collagen, and Egr-1 (early growth response gene–1), a transcription factor that mediates the effects of several fibrotic triggers. Our findings identify E4 as a peptide with potent antifibrotic activity and a possible therapeutic agent for organ fibrosis.

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