c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) participate in many physiologic and pathologic processes, including inflammatory diseases. We recently synthesized the sodium salt of IQ-1S (11H-indeno[1,2-b]quinoxalin-11-one oxime) and demonstrated that it is a high-affinity JNK inhibitor and inhibits murine delayed-type hypersensitivity. Here we show that IQ-1S is highly specific for JNK and that its neutral form is the most abundant species at physiologic pH. Molecular docking of the IQ-1S syn isomer into the JNK1 binding site gave the best pose, which corresponded to the position of cocrystallized JNK inhibitor SP600125 (1,9-pyrazoloanthrone). Evaluation of the therapeutic potential of IQ-1S showed that it inhibited matrix metalloproteinase 1 and 3 gene expression induced by interleukin-1β in human fibroblast-like synoviocytes and significantly attenuated development of murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Treatment with IQ-1S either before or after induction of CIA resulted in decreased clinical scores, and joint sections from IQ-1S-treated CIA mice exhibited only mild signs of inflammation and minimal cartilage loss compared with those from control mice. Collagen II-specific antibody responses were also reduced by IQ-1S treatment. By contrast, the inactive ketone derivative 11H-indeno[1,2-b]quinoxalin-11-one had no effect on CIA clinical scores or collagen II-specific antibody titers. IQ-1S treatment also suppressed proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine levels in joints and lymph node cells. Finally, treatment with IQ-1S increased the number of Foxp3(+)CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells in lymph nodes. Thus, IQ-1S can reduce inflammation and cartilage loss associated with CIA and can serve as a small-molecule modulator for mechanistic studies of JNK function in rheumatoid arthritis.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.