Mechanisms of skin toxicity associated with metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 negative allosteric modulators.

Authors: Shah F, Stepan AF, O’Mahony A, Velichko S, Folias AE, Houle C, Shaffer CL, Marcek J, Whritenour J, Stanton R, Berg EL.
Publisher/Year: Cell Chemical Biology. 2017;24(7):858–869.e5.
Pub Med ID/Journal ID: PMID: 28669525


Cutaneous reactions represent one of the most common adverse drug effects observed in clinical trials leading to substantial compound attrition. Three negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which represent an important target for neurological diseases, developed by Pfizer, were recently failed in preclinical development due to delayed type IV skin hypersensitivity observed in non-human primates (NHPs). Here we employed large-scale phenotypic profiling in standardized panels of human primary cell/co-culture systems to characterize the skin toxicity mechanism(s) of mGluR5 NAMs from two different series. Investigation of a database of chemicals tested in these systems and transcriptional profiling suggested that the mechanism of toxicity may involve modulation of nuclear receptor targets RAR/RXR, and/or VDR with AhR antagonism. The studies reported here demonstrate how phenotypic profiling of preclinical drug candidates using human primary cells can provide insights into the mechanisms of toxicity and inform early drug discovery and development campaigns.