BTK inhibition ameliorates kidney disease in spontaneous lupus nephritis

Samantha A. Chalmers, Elizabeth Glynn, Sayra J. Garcia, Mark Panzenbeck, Josephine Pelletier, Janice Dimock, Elise Seccareccia, Todd Bosanac, Sara Khalil, Christian Harcken, Deborah Webb, Gerald Nabozny, Jay S. Fine, Donald Souza, Elliott Klein, Leal Herlitz, Meera Ramanujam, Chaim Putterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Lupus nephritis is a common disease manifestation of SLE, in which immune complex deposition and macrophage activation are important contributors to disease pathogenesis. Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) plays an important role in both B cell and FcgammaR mediated myeloid cell activation. In the current study, we examined the efficacy of BI-BTK-1, a recently described irreversible BTK inhibitor, in the classical NZB × NZW F1 (NZB/W) and MRL/lpr spontaneous mouse models of SLE. NZB/W mice were randomly assigned to a treatment (0.3 mg/kg, 1 mg/kg, 3 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg) or control group and began treatment at 22 weeks of age. The experimental setup was similar in MRL/lpr mice, but with a single treated (10 mg/kg, beginning at 8–9 weeks of age) and control group. A separate experiment was performed in the MRL/lpr strain to assess the ability of BI-BTK-1 to reverse established kidney disease. Early treatment with BI-BTK-1 significantly protected NZB/W and MRL/lpr mice from the development of proteinuria, correlating with significant renal histological protection, decreased anti-DNA titers, and increased survival in both strains. BI-BTK-1 treated mice displayed a significant decrease in nephritis-associated inflammatory mediators (e.g. LCN2 and IL-6) in the kidney, combined with a significant inhibition of immune cell infiltration and accumulation. Importantly, BI-BTK-1 treatment resulted in the reversal of established kidney disease. BTK inhibition significantly reduced total B cell numbers and all B cell subsets (immature, transitional, follicular, marginal zone, and class switched) in the spleen of NZB/W mice. Overall, the significant efficacy of BI-BTK-1 in ameliorating multiple pathological endpoints associated with kidney disease in two distinct murine models of spontaneous lupus nephritis provides a strong rationale for BTK inhibition as a promising treatment approach for lupus nephritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-218
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Immunology
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Bruton's tyrosine kinase
  • Lupus nephritis
  • MRL/lpr
  • NZB/W.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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