Objective: Interleukin (IL)-17A has emerged as pivotal in driving tissue pathology in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. The role of IL-17F, sharing 50% sequence homology and overlapping biological function, remains less clear. We hypothesised that IL-17F, together with IL-17A, contributes to chronic tissue inflammation, and that dual neutralisation may lead to more profound suppression of inflammation than inhibition of IL-17A alone.
Methods: Preclinical experiments assessed the role of IL-17A and IL-17F in tissue inflammation using disease-relevant human cells. A placebo-controlled proof-of-concept (PoC) clinical trial randomised patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) to bimekizumab (n=39) or placebo (n=14). Safety, pharmacokinetics and clinical efficacy of multiple doses (weeks 0, 3, 6 (240 mg/160 mg/160 mg; 80 mg/40 mg/40 mg; 160 mg/80 mg/80 mg and 560 mg/320 mg/320 mg)) of bimekizumab, a humanised monoclonal IgG1 antibody neutralising both IL-17A and IL-17F, were investigated.
Results: IL-17F induced qualitatively similar inflammatory responses to IL-17A in skin and joint cells. Neutralisation of IL-17A and IL-17F with bimekizumab more effectively suppressed in vitro cytokine responses and neutrophil chemotaxis than inhibition of IL-17A or IL-17F alone. The PoC trial met both prespecified efficacy success criteria and showed rapid, profound responses in both joint and skin (pooled top three doses vs placebo at week 8: American College of Rheumatology 20% response criteria 80.0% vs 16.7% (posterior probability >99%); Psoriasis Area and Severity Index 100% response criteria 86.7% vs 0%), sustained to week 20, without unexpected safety signals.
Conclusions: These data support IL-17F as a key driver of human chronic tissue inflammation and the rationale for dual neutralisation of IL-17A and IL-17F in PsA and related conditions.
Trial registration number: NCT02141763; Results.
Keywords: autoimmune diseases; cytokines; inflammation; psoriatic arthritis.
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