Ex vivo lung perfusion as a human platform for preclinical small molecule testing

JCI Insight. 2018 Oct 4;3(19):e95515. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.95515.


The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) causes an estimated 70,000 US deaths annually. Multiple pharmacologic interventions for ARDS have been tested and failed. An unmet need is a suitable laboratory human model to predictively assess emerging therapeutics on organ function in ARDS. We previously demonstrated that the small molecule BC1215 blocks actions of a proinflammatory E3 ligase-associated protein, FBXO3, to suppress NF-κB signaling in animal models of lung injury. Ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) is a clinical technique that maintains lung function for possible transplant after organ donation. We used human lungs unacceptable for transplant to model endotoxemic injury with EVLP for 6 hours. LPS infusion induced inflammatory injury with impaired oxygenation of pulmonary venous circulation. BC1215 treatment after LPS rescued oxygenation and decreased inflammatory cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage. RNA sequencing transcriptomics from biopsies taken during EVLP revealed robust inflammatory gene induction by LPS with a strong signal for NF-κB-associated transcripts. BC1215 treatment reduced the LPS induction of genes associated with inflammatory and host defense gene responses by Gene Ontology (GOterm) and pathways analysis. BC1215 also significantly antagonized LPS-mediated NF-κB activity. EVLP may provide a unique human platform for preclinical study of chemical entities such as FBXO3 inhibitors on tissue physiology.

Keywords: Inflammation; Innate immunity; NF-kappaB; Pulmonology; Toxins/drugs/xenobiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Benzylamines / pharmacology*
  • Benzylamines / therapeutic use
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • F-Box Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • F-Box Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perfusion / methods*
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • BC-1215
  • Benzylamines
  • F-Box Proteins
  • Fbxo3 protein, human
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Pyridines