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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Oct 2023 - 3 Nov 2023

2023 Oct 24

Redox Biol



Fatty acid nitroalkenes – Multi-target agents for the treatment of sickle cell disease.


Chowdhury FA, Colussi N, Sharma M, Wood KC, Xu JZ, Freeman BA, Schopfer FJ, Straub AC


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a hereditary hematological disease with high morbidity and mortality rates worldwide. Despite being monogenic, SCD patients display a plethora of disease-associated complications including anemia, oxidative stress, sterile inflammation, vaso-occlusive crisis-related pain, and vasculopathy, all of which contribute to multiorgan dysfunction and failure. Over the past decade, numerous small molecule drugs, biologics, and gene-based interventions have been evaluated; however, only four disease-modifying drug therapies are presently FDA approved. Barriers regarding effectiveness, accessibility, affordability, tolerance, and compliance of the current polypharmacy-based disease-management approaches are challenging. As such, there is an unmet pharmacological need for safer, more efficacious, and logistically accessible treatment options for SCD patients. Herein, we evaluate the potential of small molecule nitroalkenes such as nitro-fatty acid (NO-FA) as a therapy for SCD. These agents are electrophilic and exert anti-inflammatory and tissue repair effects through an ability to transiently post-translationally bind to and modify transcription factors, pro-inflammatory enzymes and cell signaling mediators. Preclinical and clinical studies affirm safety of the drug class and a murine model of SCD reveals protection against inflammation, fibrosis, and vascular dysfunction. Despite protective cardiac, renal, pulmonary, and central nervous system effects of nitroalkenes, they have not previously been considered as therapy for SCD. We highlight the pathways targeted by this drug class, which can potentially prevent the end-organ damage associated with SCD and contrast their prospective therapeutic benefits for SCD as opposed to current polypharmacy approaches.