Acute toxicological study: EZY-1 with potent therapeutic effects of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and its mechanisms.
EZY-1 is an antifibrosis peptide purified from Eucheuma. In this study, we explored the acute toxicology of EZY-1 and the signaling pathways involved in its antifibrotic role. The mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis was induced by bleomycin. Pathological changes in lung tissue could be effectively inhibited by EZY-1. Acute toxicity and cell proliferation tests indicated that EZY-1 had no apparent toxicity to mice and cells. We identified proteins that could bind directly to EZY-1 in vitro on the basis of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and bioinformatics analysis. EZY-1 inhibited pulmonary fibrosis via Wnt/β-catenin, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/Smad, phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B/ mammalian target of rapamycin, and activator of transcription 3 and Janus kinase 2/signal transducer pathways. A transwell micropore experiment showed that EZY-1 could inhibit cell migration and invasion. Western blotting analysis on transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-induced A549 pulmonary fibrosis cell model suggested that EZY-1 could downregulate p-Smad3 (Ser423/Ser425), Smad4, β-catenin, vimentin, and N-cadherin expression. ELISA showed that EZY-1 could inhibit collagen-I secretion. EZY-1 alleviated idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) through regulating TGF-β/Smad pathways, epithelial-mesenchymal transition processes, and collagen secretion, which provides a potential foundation for theoretical development of EZY-1 as a potential drug against IPF. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: We isolated a new 16-amino-acid peptide derived from the polypeptide extract of Eucheuma, named EZY-1. In vitro and in vivo assays show peptide EZY-1 is safe. The EZY-1 peptide alleviates IPF at lower doses than pirfenidone. EZY-1 alleviated idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) through regulating TGF-β/Smad pathways, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) processes, and collagen secretion, which provides a theoretical basis for the development of EZY-1 as a potential drug against IPF.