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Lidocaine-derivative JMF2-1 prevents ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation by regulating the function and survival of T cells


Marco Aurélio Martins, Laboratory of Inflammation, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), Av. Brazil 4365, Manguinhos CEP. 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. E-mail:


Cite this as: P. C. Olsen, T. P. T. Ferreira, M. F. Serra, F. A. Farias-Filho, B. P. Fonseca, J. P. B. Viola, R. S. B. Cordeiro, P. M. R. Silva, J. C. S. Costa and M. A. Martins, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2011 (41) 250–259.


Background Inhalation of the local anaesthetic lidocaine has been suggested to be beneficial for asthmatics, but airway anaesthesia is unpleasant and may exacerbate bronchoconstriction. Our previous study showed that inhalation of the lidocaine analogue JMF2-1 can elicit the anti-inflammatory properties of lidocaine without anaesthesia. This prompted further research on the mechanism of action and putative therapeutic application of JMF2-1.

Objective We tested the hypothesis that JMF2-1 would prevent allergen-induced lung inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) by modulating T cell function in vivo and in vitro.

Methods Local and systemic changes in leucocyte levels, cytokine production and lung mechanics were examined in a murine model of lung inflammation. JMF2-1 (0.05–2%) or saline was aerosolized twice a day during the ovalbumin (OVA)-provocation period (19–21 days post-sensitization). Analyses were performed 24 h after the final challenge. Primary cultured lymph node cells were used to assess the effects of JMF2-1 (100–600 μm) at the cellular level.

Results OVA challenge resulted in lung recruitment of CD4+ T cells and eosinophils, increased generation of inflammatory cytokines and AHR to inhaled methacholine within 24 h. These changes were prevented by JMF2-1 nebulization, and occurred in parallel with an increase in the number of apoptotic cells in the lung. JMF2-1 treatment did not alter levels of CD4+ or CD8+ T cells in the thymus or lymph nodes of naïve mice, although it inhibited OVA-induced IL-13 production and the lymphocyte proliferative response in vitro. It also induced apoptosis of OVA-activated lymphocytes in a mechanism sensitive to z-VAD, indicating that JMF2-1 mediates caspase-dependent apoptosis.

Conclusion Inhalation of JMF2-1 prevents the cardinal features of asthma by reducing TH2 cytokine generation and lung eosinophilic inflammatory infiltrates via local inhibition of T cell function and survival. JMF2-1 may represent a novel therapeutic alternative for asthma control with distinct advantages over local anaesthetics.

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