24 Scopus citations


Background: Skin atrophy is a major adverse effect of topical glucocorticoids. We recently reported that REDD1 (regulated in development and DNA damage 1) and FKBP51 (FK506 binding protein 5), negative regulators of mTOR/Akt signaling, are induced by glucocorticoids in mouse and human skin and are central drivers of steroid skin atrophy. Thus, we hypothesized that REDD1/FKBP51 inhibitors could protect skin against catabolic effects of glucocorticoids. Methods: Using drug repurposing approach, we screened LINCS library (http://lincsproject.org/LINCS/) to identify repressors of REDD1/FKBP51 expression. Candidate compounds were tested for their ability to inhibit glucocorticoid-induced REDD1/FKBP51 expression in human primary/immortalized keratinocytes and in mouse skin. Reporter gene expression, microarray, and chromatin immunoprecipitation were employed to evaluate effect of these inhibitors on the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling. Findings: Bioinformatics analysis unexpectedly identified phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)/mTOR/Akt inhibitors as a pharmacological class of REDD1/FKBP51 repressors. Selected PI3K/mTOR/Akt inhibitors-Wortmannin (WM), LY294002, AZD8055, and two others indeed blocked REDD1/FKBP51expression in human keratinocytes. PI3K/mTOR/Akt inhibitors also modified global effect of glucocorticoids on trascriptome, shifting it towards therapeutically important transrepression; negatively impacted GR phosphorylation; nuclear translocation; and GR loading on REDD1/FKBP51 gene promoters. Further, topical application of LY294002 together with glucocorticoid fluocinolone acetonide (FA) protected mice against FA-induced proliferative block and skin atrophy but did not alter the anti-inflammatory activity of FA in ear edema test. Interpretation: Our results built a strong foundation for development of safer GR-targeted therapies for inflammatory skin diseases using combination of glucocorticoids with PI3K/mTOR/Akt inhibitors. Fund: Work is supported by NIH grants R01GM112945, R01AI125366, and HESI-THRIVE foundation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-537
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • FKBP51
  • Glucocorticoid receptor
  • PI3K/mTOR/Akt inhibitor
  • REDD1
  • Skin atrophy
  • mTOR


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