Biomolecules. 2021 Feb 25;11(3):351. doi: 10.3390/biom11030351.
The ability to regulate the recruitment of immune cells makes chemokines and their receptors attractive drug targets in many inflammatory diseases. Based on its preferential expression on T helper type 2 (Th2) cells, C-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CCR4) has been widely studied in the context of allergic diseases, but recent evidence on the expression of CCR4 in other cell types has considerably expanded the potential applications of CCR4 antagonism. However, the current number of approved indications, as well as the portfolio of CCR4-targeting drugs, are still limited. In the present study, we have assessed the potential therapeutic efficacy of a CCR4 small molecule antagonist, SP50, discovered via an in silico-based approach, against a variety of pre-clinical settings of infection with the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. We show that SP50 efficiently worked as prophylactic vaccine adjuvant in immunocompetent mice, protected against invasive aspergillosis in immunosuppressed mice. Further, the CCR4 antagonist prevented allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in susceptible mice, and in a murine model of cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder characterized by chronic pulmonary inflammation and recurrent infections. In conclusion, our results extend the potential applications of CCR4 antagonism and prompt for the development of novel compounds with the potential to progress to clinical trials.