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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec 13




Therapeutic Effect of a Latent Form of Cortistatin in Experimental Inflammatory and Fibrotic Disorders.


Campos-Salinas J, Barriga M, Delgado M
Pharmaceutics. 2022 Dec 13; 14(12).
PMID: 36559278.


Cortistatin is a cyclic neuropeptide that recently emerged as an attractive therapeutic factor for treating inflammatory, autoimmune, fibrotic, and pain disorders. Despite of its efficiency and apparent safety in experimental preclinical models, its short half-life in body fluids and its potential pleiotropic effects, due to its promiscuity for several receptors expressed in various cells and tissues, represent two major drawbacks for the clinical translation of cortistatin-based therapies. Therefore, the design of new strategies focused on increasing the stability, bioavailability, and target specificity of cortistatin are lately demanded by the industry. Here, we generated by molecular engineering a new cortistatin-based prodrug formulation that includes, beside the bioactive cortistatin, a molecular-shield provided by the latency-associated protein of the transforming growth factor-β1 and a cleavage site specifically recognized by metalloproteinases, which are abundant in inflammatory/fibrotic foci. Using different models of sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, scleroderma, and pulmonary fibrosis, we demonstrated that this latent form of cortistatin was a highly effective protection against these severe disorders. Noteworthy, from a therapeutic point of view, is that latent cortistatin seems to require significantly lower doses and fewer administrations than naive cortistatin to reach the same efficacy. Finally, the metalloproteinase-cleavage site was essential for the latent molecule to exert its therapeutic action. In summary, latent cortistatin emerges as a promising innovative therapeutic tool for treating chronic diseases of different etiologies with difficult clinical solutions and as a starting point for a rational development of prodrugs based on the use of bioactive peptides.