Minoxidil cannot be used to target lysyl hydroxylases during postnatal mouse lung development: A cautionary note

Tilman Pfeffer, Ettore Lignelli, Hajime Inoue, Ivana Mizíková, David E. Surate Solaligue, Heiko Steenbock, Despoina Myti, István Vadász, Susanne Herold, Werner Seeger, Jürgen Brinckmann, Rory E. Morty*

*Corresponding author for this work


The lysyl hydroxylases (procollagen-lysine 5-dioxygenases) PLOD1, PLOD2, and PLOD3 have been proposed as pathogenic mediators of stunted lung development in bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a common complication of preterm birth. In affected infants, pulmonary oxygen toxicity stunts lung development. Mice lacking Plod1 exhibit 15% mortality, and mice lacking Plod2 or Plod3 exhibit embryonic lethality. Therefore, to address any pathogenic role of lysyl hydroxylases in stunted lung development associated with BPD, minoxidil was administered to newborn mice in an oxygen toxicity–based BPD animal model. Minoxidil, which has attracted much interest in the management of systemic hypertension and androgenetic alopecia, can also be used to reduce lysyl hydroxylase activity in cultured cells. An in vivo pilot dosing study established 50 mg×kg21×day21 as the maximum possible minoxidil dose for intraperitoneal administration in newborn mouse pups. When administered at 50 mg×kg21×day21 to newborn mouse pups, minoxidil was detected in the lungs but did not impact lysine hydroxylation, collagen crosslinking, or lysyl hydroxylase expression in the lungs. Consistent with no impact on mouse lung extracellular matrix structures, minoxidil administration did not alter the course of normal or stunted lung development in newborn mice. At doses of up to 50 mg×kg×day21, pharmacologically active concentrations of minoxidil were not achieved in neonatal mouse lung tissue; thus, minoxidil cannot be used to attenuate lysyl hydroxylase expression or activity during mouse lung development. These data also highlight the need for new and specific lysyl hydroxylase inhibitors. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Extracellular matrix crosslinking is mediated by lysyl hydroxylases, which generate hydroxylated lysyl residues in procollagen peptides. Deregulated collagen crosslinking is a pathogenic component of a spectrum of diseases, and thus, there is interest in validating lysyl hydroxylases as pathogenic mediators of disease and potential “druggable” targets. Minoxidil, administered at the maximum possible dose, did not inhibit lysyl hydroxylation in newborn mouse lungs, suggesting that minoxidil was unlikely to be of use in studies that pharmacologically target lysyl hydroxylation in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)478-487
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 12.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


Dive into the research topics of 'Minoxidil cannot be used to target lysyl hydroxylases during postnatal mouse lung development: A cautionary note'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this