Background & aims: Interactions between C-C chemokine receptor types 2 (CCR2) and 5 (CCR5) and their ligands, including CCL2 and CCL5, mediate fibrogenesis by promoting monocyte/macrophage recruitment and tissue infiltration, as well as hepatic stellate cell activation. Cenicriviroc (CVC) is an oral, dual CCR2/CCR5 antagonist with nanomolar potency against both receptors. CVC's anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic effects were evaluated in a range of preclinical models of inflammation and fibrosis.
Methods: Monocyte/macrophage recruitment was assessed in vivo in a mouse model of thioglycollate-induced peritonitis. CCL2-induced chemotaxis was evaluated ex vivo on mouse monocytes. CVC's antifibrotic effects were evaluated in a thioacetamide-induced rat model of liver fibrosis and mouse models of diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and renal fibrosis. Study assessments included body and liver/kidney weight, liver function test, liver/kidney morphology and collagen deposition, fibrogenic gene and protein expression, and pharmacokinetic analyses.
Results: CVC significantly reduced monocyte/macrophage recruitment in vivo at doses ≥20 mg/kg/day (p < 0.05). At these doses, CVC showed antifibrotic effects, with significant reductions in collagen deposition (p < 0.05), and collagen type 1 protein and mRNA expression across the three animal models of fibrosis. In the NASH model, CVC significantly reduced the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease activity score (p < 0.05 vs. controls). CVC treatment had no notable effect on body or liver/kidney weight.
Conclusions: CVC displayed potent anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic activity in a range of animal fibrosis models, supporting human testing for fibrotic diseases. Further experimental studies are needed to clarify the underlying mechanisms of CVC's antifibrotic effects. A Phase 2b study in adults with NASH and liver fibrosis is fully enrolled (CENTAUR Study 652-2-203; NCT02217475).