Targeting TGFβ Signaling to Address Fibrosis Using Antisense Oligonucleotides

James T March, Golnoush Golshirazi, Viktorija Cernisova, Heidi Carr, Yee Leong, Ngoc Lu-Nguyen, Linda J Popplewell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Fibrosis results from the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix in chronically injured tissue. The fibrotic process is governed by crosstalk between many signaling pathways. The search for an effective treatment is further complicated by the fact that there is a degree of tissue-specificity in the pathways involved, although the process is not completely understood for all tissues. A plethora of drugs have shown promise in pre-clinical models, which is not always borne out translationally in clinical trial. With the recent approvals of two antisense oligonucleotides for the treatment of the genetic diseases Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy, we explore here the potential of antisense oligonucleotides to knockdown the expression of pro-fibrotic proteins. We give an overview of the generalized fibrotic process, concentrating on key players and highlight where antisense oligonucleotides have been used effectively in cellular and animal models of different fibrotic conditions. Consideration is given to the advantages antisense oligonucleotides would have as an anti-fibrotic therapy alongside factors that would need to be addressed to improve efficacy. A prospective outlook for the development of antisense oligonucleotides to target fibrosis is outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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