Efficacy of selective histone deacetylase 6 inhibition in mouse models of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection: A new glimpse for reducing inflammation and infection in cystic fibrosis

Eur J Pharmacol. 2022 Dec 5:936:175349. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2022.175349. Epub 2022 Oct 26.


The latest studies identified the histone deacetylase (HDAC) class of enzymes as strategic components of the complex molecular machinery underlying inflammation in cystic fibrosis (CF). Compelling new support has been provided for HDAC6 isoform as a key player in the generation of the dysregulated proinflammatory phenotype in CF, as well as in the immune response to the persistent bacterial infection accompanying CF patients. We herein provide in vivo proof-of-concept (PoC) of the efficacy of selective HDAC6 inhibition in contrasting the pro-inflammatory phenotype in a mouse model of chronic P. aeruginosa respiratory infection. Upon careful selection and in-house re-profiling (in vitro and cell-based assessment of acetylated tubulin level through Western blot analysis) of three potent and selective HDAC6 inhibitors as putative candidates for the PoC, we engaged the best performing compound 2 for pre-clinical studies. Compound 2 demonstrated no toxicity and robust anti-inflammatory profile in a mouse model of chronic P. aeruginosa respiratory infection upon repeated aerosol administration. A significant reduction of leukocyte recruitment in the airways, in particular neutrophils, was observed in compound 2-treated mice in comparison with the vehicle; moreover, quantitative immunoassays confirmed a significant reduction of chemokines and cytokines in lung homogenate. This effect was also associated with a modest reduced bacterial load after compound 2-treatment in mice compared to the vehicle. Our study is of particular significance since it demonstrates for the first time the utility of selective drug-like HDAC6 inhibitors in a relevant in vivo model of chronic P. aeruginosa infection, thus supporting their potential application for reverting CF phenotype.

Keywords: Cystic fibrosis; Epigenetics; Histone deacetylase 6; Infection; Inflammation; Lung; Mouse model.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cystic Fibrosis* / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis* / drug therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Histone Deacetylase 6
  • Inflammation
  • Mice
  • Pseudomonas Infections* / complications
  • Pseudomonas Infections* / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets


  • Histone Deacetylase 6