© 2016 Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have been known to be a key factor in the regulation of the immune system under numerous conditions such as tumors, infections, autoimmune diseases, and transplantations. In contrast to the proposed deleterious role of MDSCs in tumors and infections, MDSCs with their suppressive function are now proved to have the beneficial potential of suppressing the autoimmune response and promoting tolerance to transplantation. Therefore, the expansion of MDSCs could be a promising therapeutic strategy for many diseases. In this study, we aimed to identify FDA-approved drugs that could aid in the expansion of functional MDSCs. We performed a high-throughput screening (HTS) of FDA-approved drugs based on the in vitro human MDSC-differentiation system and identified finasteride (FIN) to have the best potency to aid the generation of human MDSCs. The FIN-induced MDSCs were quite similar to monocytic MDSCs with regard to their surface phenotype, morphology, immunosuppressive function, and related gene expression. Next, we aimed to determine the mechanism of action of FIN and found that FIN induced the expansion of MDSCs through up-regulation of the COX2/PGE2 pathway by enhancing the activity of COX2 promoter. In addition, the administration of indomethacin (IND), a COX2 inhibitor, abrogated the effect of FIN. Based on these results, we suggested that FIN could find applications in the future in the expansion of MDSCs. Further development of FIN-like compounds could be a novel strategy for generating functional MDSCs for immunosuppressive therapies in various immune disorder conditions.
Zhang, S., Wu, K., Liu, Y., Lin, Y., Zhang, X., Zhou, J., … Fu, Y. (2016). Finasteride enhances the generation of human myeloid-Derived suppressor cells by up-Regulating the cox2/pge2 pathway. PLoS ONE, 11(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156549