Lupus nephritis (LN) is a potentially dangerous end organ pathology that affects upwards of 60% of lupus patients. Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) is important for B cell development, Fc receptor signaling, and macrophage polarization. In this study, we investigated the effects of a novel, highly selective and potent BTK inhibitor, BI-BTK-1, in an inducible model of LN in which mice receive nephrotoxic serum (NTS) containing anti-glomerular antibodies. Mice were treated once daily with vehicle alone or BI-BTK-1, either prophylactically or therapeutically. When compared with control treated mice, NTS-challenged mice treated prophylactically with BI-BTK-1 exhibited significantly attenuated kidney disease, which was dose dependent. BI-BTK-1 treatment resulted in decreased infiltrating IBA-1+ cells, as well as C3 deposition within the kidney. RT-PCR on whole kidney RNA and serum profiling indicated that BTK inhibition significantly decreased levels of LN-relevant inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Renal RNA expression profiling by RNA-seq revealed that BI-BTK-1 dramatically modulated pathways related to inflammation and glomerular injury. Importantly, when administered therapeutically, BI-BTK-1 reversed established proteinuria and improved renal histopathology. Our results highlight the important role for BTK in the pathogenesis of immune complex-mediated nephritis, and BTK inhibition as a promising therapeutic target for LN.
ASJC Scopus subject areas