Exon skipping of hepatic APOB pre-mRNA with splice-switching oligonucleotides reduces LDL cholesterol in vivo.
ABSTRACT: Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder characterized by extremely high levels of plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL), due to defective LDL receptor-apolipoprotein B (APOB) binding. Current therapies such as statins or LDL apheresis for homozygous FH are insufficiently efficacious at lowering LDL cholesterol or are expensive. Treatments that target APOB100, the structural protein of LDL particles, are potential therapies for FH. We have developed a series of APOB-directed splice-switching oligonucleotides (SSOs) that cause the expression of APOB87, a truncated isoform of APOB100. APOB87, like similarly truncated isoforms expressed in patients with a different condition, familial hypobetalipoproteinemia, lowers LDL cholesterol by inhibiting very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) assembly and increasing LDL clearance. We demonstrate that these "APO-skip " SSOs induce high levels of exon skipping and expression of the APOB87 isoform, but do not substantially inhibit APOB48 expression in cell lines. A single injection of an optimized APO-skip SSO into mice transgenic for human APOB resulted in abundant exon skipping that persists for >6 days. Weekly treatments generated a sustained reduction in LDL cholesterol levels of 34-51% in these mice, superior to pravastatin in a head-to-head comparison. These results validate APO-skip SSOs as a candidate therapy for FH.
Project description:Apolipoprotein B (APOB) is an integral part of the LDL, VLDL, IDL, Lp(a) and chylomicron lipoprotein particles. The APOB pre-mRNA consists of 29 constitutively-spliced exons. APOB exists as two natural isoforms: the full-length APOB100 isoform, assembled into LDL, VLDL, IDL and Lp(a) and secreted by the liver in humans; and the C-terminally truncated APOB48, assembled into chylomicrons and secreted by the intestine in humans. Down-regulation of APOB100 is a potential therapy to lower circulating LDL and cholesterol levels.We investigated the ability of 2'O-methyl RNA antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) to induce the skipping of exon 27 in endogenous APOB mRNA in HepG2 cells. These ASOs are directed towards the 5' and 3' splice-sites of exon 27, the branch-point sequence (BPS) of intron 26-27 and several predicted exonic splicing enhancers within exon 27. ASOs targeting either the 5' or 3' splice-site, in combination with the BPS, are the most effective. The splicing of other alternatively spliced genes are not influenced by these ASOs, suggesting that the effects seen are not due to non-specific changes in alternative splicing. The skip 27 mRNA is translated into a truncated isoform, APOB87SKIP27.The induction of APOB87SKIP27 expression in vivo should lead to decreased LDL and cholesterol levels, by analogy to patients with hypobetalipoproteinemia. As intestinal APOB mRNA editing and APOB48 expression rely on sequences within exon 26, exon 27 skipping should not affect APOB48 expression unlike other methods of down-regulating APOB100 expression which also down-regulate APOB48.
Project description:Although studies in vitro and in hypothyroid animals show that thyroid hormone can, under some circumstances, modulate the actions of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors, the mechanisms responsible for thyroid hormone's lipid-lowering effects are not completely understood. We tested whether LDL receptor (LDLR) expression was required for cholesterol reduction by treating control and LDLR-knockout mice with two forms of thyroid hormone T(3) and 3,5-diiodo-l-thyronine. High doses of both 3,5-diiodo-l-thyronine and T(3) dramatically reduced circulating total and very low-density lipoprotein/LDL cholesterol (?70%) and were associated with reduced plasma T(4) level. The cholesterol reduction was especially evident in the LDLR-knockout mice. Circulating levels of both apolipoprotein B (apo)B48 and apoB100 were decreased. Surprisingly, this reduction was not associated with increased protein or mRNA expression of the hepatic lipoprotein receptors LDLR-related protein 1 or scavenger receptor-B1. Liver production of apoB was markedly reduced, whereas triglyceride production was increased. Thus, thyroid hormones reduce apoB lipoproteins via a non-LDLR pathway that leads to decreased liver apoB production. This suggests that drugs that operate in a similar manner could be a new therapy for patients with genetic defects in the LDLR.
Project description:Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a life-threatening genetic disease caused by mutations in the gene encoding low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR). As a bridge to clinical trials, we generated a "humanized" mouse model lacking LDLR and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) mRNA editing catalytic polypeptide-1 (APOBEC-1) expression and expressing a human ApoB100 transgene in order to permit more authentic simulation of in vivo interactions between the clinical transgene product, human LDLR (hLDLR), and its endogenous ligand, human ApoB100. On a chow diet, the humanized LDLR-deficient mice have substantial hypercholesterolemia and a lipoprotein phenotype more closely resembling human homozygous FH (hoFH) than in previous mouse models of FH. On injection of an adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8) vector encoding the human LDLR cDNA, significant correction of hypercholesterolemia was realized at doses as low as 1.5 × 10(11) genome copies (GC)/kg. Given that some patients with heterozygous FH (heFH) cannot be adequately treated with current therapy, we then extended our studies to similarly "humanized" mice that were heterozygous for LDLR deficiency, and that have a lipoprotein phenotype resembling heterozygous FH. Injection of AAV8-hLDLR brought about significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol at doses as low as 5 × 10(11) GC/kg. Collectively, these data demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the liver-specific AAV8-hLDLR vector in the treatment of humanized mice modeling both hoFH and heFH.
Project description:Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is an inherited autosomal dominant disorder resulting from defects in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), in the apolipoprotein B (APOB) or in the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) genes. In the majority of the cases FH is caused by mutations occurring within LDLR, while only few mutations in APOB and PCSK9 have been proved to cause disease. p.(Arg3527Gln) was the first mutation in APOB being identified and characterized. Recently two novel pathogenic APOB variants have been described: p.(Arg1164Thr) and p.(Gln4494del) showing impaired LDLR binding capacity, and diminished LDL uptake. The objective of this work was to analyse the structure of p.(Arg1164Thr) and p.(Gln4494del) variants to gain insight into their pathogenicity. Secondary structure of the human ApoB100 has been investigated by infrared spectroscopy (IR) and LDL particle size both by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and electron microscopy. The results show differences in secondary structure and/or in particle size of p.(Arg1164Thr) and p.(Gln4494del) variants compared with wild type. We conclude that these changes underlie the defective binding and uptake of p.(Arg1164Thr) and p.(Gln4494del) variants. Our study reveals that structural studies on pathogenic variants of APOB may provide very useful information to understand their role in FH disease.
Project description:Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant condition with a population prevalence of one in 300-500 (heterozygous) that is characterized by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, tendon xanthomata, and premature atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease (CHD). FH is caused mainly by mutations in the LDLR gene. However, mutations in other genes including APOB and PCSK9, can give rise to a similar phenotype. Homozygous FH with an estimated prevalence of one in a million is associated with severe hypercholesterolemia with accelerated atherosclerotic CHD in childhood and without treatment, death usually occurs before the age of 30 years. Current approaches for the treatment of homozygous FH include statin-based lipid-lowering therapies and LDL apheresis. Mipomersen is a second-generation antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) targeted to human apolipoprotein B (apoB)-100. This review provides an overview of the pathophysiology and current treatment options for familial hypercholesterolemia and describes novel therapeutic strategies focusing on mipomersen, an antisense apoB synthesis inhibitor. Mipomersen is distributed mainly to the liver where it silences apoB mRNA, thereby reducing hepatic apoB-100 and giving rise to reductions in plasma total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and apoB concentrations in a dose-and time-dependent manner. Mipomersen has been shown to decrease apoB, LDL-cholesterol and lipoprotein(a) in patients with heterozygous and homozygous FH on maximally tolerated lipid-lowering therapy. The short-term efficacy and safety of mipomersen has been established, however, injection site reactions are common and concern exists regarding the long-term potential for hepatic steatosis with this ASO. In summary, mipomersen given alone or in combination with standard lipid-lowering medications shows promise as an adjunct therapy in patients with homozygous or refractory heterozygous FH at high risk of atherosclerotic CHD, who are not at target or are intolerant of statins.
Project description:Objective- Apo (apolipoprotein) CIII inhibits lipoprotein lipase (LpL)-mediated lipolysis of VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein) triglyceride (TG) and decreases hepatic uptake of VLDL remnants. The discovery that 5% of Lancaster Old Order Amish are heterozygous for the APOC3 R19X null mutation provided the opportunity to determine the effects of a naturally occurring reduction in apo CIII levels on the metabolism of atherogenic containing lipoproteins. Approach and Results- We conducted stable isotope studies of VLDL-TG and apoB100 in 5 individuals heterozygous for the null mutation APOC3 R19X (CT) and their unaffected (CC) siblings. Fractional clearance rates and production rates of VLDL-TG and apoB100 in VLDL, IDL (intermediate-density lipoprotein), LDL, apo CIII, and apo CII were determined. Affected (CT) individuals had 49% reduction in plasma apo CIII levels compared with CCs ( P<0.01) and reduced plasma levels of TG (35%, P<0.02), VLDL-TG (45%, P<0.02), and VLDL-apoB100 (36%, P<0.05). These changes were because of higher fractional clearance rates of VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB100 with no differences in production rates. CTs had higher rates of the conversion of VLDL remnants to LDL compared with CCs. In contrast, rates of direct removal of VLDL remnants did not differ between the groups. As a result, the flux of apoB100 from VLDL to LDL was not reduced, and the plasma levels of LDL-cholesterol and LDL-apoB100 were not lower in the CT group. Apo CIII production rate was lower in CTs compared with CCs, whereas apo CII production rate was not different between the 2 groups. The fractional clearance rates of both apo CIII and apo CII were higher in CTs than CCs. Conclusions- These studies demonstrate that 50% reductions in plasma apo CIII, in otherwise healthy subjects, results in a significantly higher rate of conversion of VLDL to LDL, with little effect on direct hepatic uptake of VLDL. When put in the context of studies demonstrating significant protection from cardiovascular events in individuals with loss of function variants in the APOC3 gene, our results provide strong evidence that therapies which increase the efficiency of conversion of VLDL to LDL, thereby reducing remnant concentrations, should reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Project description:Lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), represents an apolipoprotein (apo) B-carrying lipoprotein, yet the relationship between Lp(a) and apoB levels has not been fully explored.We addressed the relationship between Lp(a) and apoB-containing lipoprotein levels in 336 Caucasians and 224 African-Americans. Our approach takes unique molecular properties of Lp(a) as well as contribution of Lp(a) to the levels of these lipoproteins into account.Levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apoB and apoB/apoA-1 did not differ across ethnicity. African-Americans had higher levels of Lp(a) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels compared to Caucasians. Lp(a) levels were correlated with levels of TC (p < 0.005), LDL-C (p < 0.001), apoB (p < 0.05) or apoB/apoA-1 (p < 0.05) in both ethnic groups. These associations remained significant only in African-Americans after adjustments for the contribution of Lp(a)-cholesterol or Lp(a)-apoB. Furthermore, taking Lp(a)-apoB into account, allele-specific apo(a) levels were significantly associated with apoB levels and the apoB/apoA-1 ratio in African-Americans. The latter associations in African-Americans remained significant for allele-specific apo(a) levels for smaller apo(a) sizes (<26 K4 repeats), after controlling for the effects of age, sex, and BMI.Although TC, LDL-C, and apoB levels were comparable between African-Americans and Caucasians, the associations of these parameters with Lp(a) and allele specific apo(a) levels differed between these two ethnic groups. In African-Americans, apoB and apoB/apoA-1 remained consistently and positively associated with both Lp(a) and allele-specific apo(a) levels after adjustments for the contribution of Lp(a)-apoB. The findings suggest an interethnic difference with a closer relationship between Lp(a) and apoB among African-Americans.
Project description:Familial hypercholesterolemia is caused by mutations in the LDL receptor gene (Ldlr). Elevated plasma LDL levels result from slower LDL catabolism and a paradoxical lipoprotein overproduction. We explored the relationship between the presence of the LDL receptor and lipoprotein secretion in hepatocytes from both wild-type and LDL receptor-deficient mice. Ldlr(-/-) hepatocytes secreted apoB100 at a 3.5-fold higher rate than did wild-type hepatocytes. ApoB mRNA abundance, initial apoB synthetic rate, and abundance of the microsomal triglyceride transfer protein 97-kDa subunit did not differ between wild-type and Ldlr(-/-) cells. Pulse-chase analysis and multicompartmental modeling revealed that in wild-type hepatocytes, approximately 55% of newly synthesized apoB100 was degraded. However, in Ldlr(-/-) cells, less than 20% of apoB was degraded. In wild-type hepatocytes, approximately equal amounts of LDL receptor-dependent apoB100 degradation occured via reuptake and presecretory mechanisms. Adenovirus-mediated overexpression of the LDL receptor in Ldlr(-/-) cells resulted in degradation of approximately 90% of newly synthesized apoB100. These studies show that the LDL receptor alters the proportion of apoB that escapes co- or post-translational presecretory degradation and mediates the reuptake of newly secreted apoB-containing lipoprotein particles.
Project description:Objective:APOB-related familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is the most common hereditary hyperchlosterolemia with an autosomal dominant pattern. A number of APOB variants are the most important risk factors for hyperchlosterolemia. APOB is a large glycoprotein that plays an important role in the metabolism of lipoproteins in the human body. Small changes in the structure and function of APOB can cause major problems in lipid metabolism. Two forms of APOB are produced by an editing process of gene replication. APOB48 is required for the production of chylomicrons in the small intestine and APOB100 is essential in liver for the production of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and is also a ligand for LDL receptor (LDLR) that mediates LDL endocytosis. Materials and Methods:In this case-control study, rs693 (in exon 26 of APOB) and rs515135 (5 'end of APOB) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were analyzed in 120 cases of familial hypercholesterolemia and 120 controls. Both SNPs were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) where PCR products were digested with specific restriction enzymes recognising each single nucleotide polymorphism. Results:This study was analyzed by odds-ratio (OR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) to examine the association of the two SNPs with familial hypercholostermia susceptibility. Statistical analysis showed that both SNPs were in Hardy- Weinberg equilibrium. Conclusion:We found no significant relationship between rs515135 and familiar hypercholesterolemia. However, there was a significant association between the C allele of rs693 and high familial cholesterol levels. Furthermore, it seems the dominant model of T allele occurrence has a protective role in emergence of disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Approximately 7% of American adults have severe hypercholesterolemia (untreated low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol ?190 mg/dl), which may be due to familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). Lifelong LDL cholesterol elevations in FH mutation carriers may confer coronary artery disease (CAD) risk beyond that captured by a single LDL cholesterol measurement. OBJECTIVES:This study assessed the prevalence of an FH mutation among those with severe hypercholesterolemia and determined whether CAD risk varies according to mutation status beyond the observed LDL cholesterol level. METHODS:Three genes causative for FH (LDLR, APOB, and PCSK9) were sequenced in 26,025 participants from 7 case-control studies (5,540 CAD case subjects, 8,577 CAD-free control subjects) and 5 prospective cohort studies (11,908 participants). FH mutations included loss-of-function variants in LDLR, missense mutations in LDLR predicted to be damaging, and variants linked to FH in ClinVar, a clinical genetics database. RESULTS:Among 20,485 CAD-free control and prospective cohort participants, 1,386 (6.7%) had LDL cholesterol ?190 mg/dl; of these, only 24 (1.7%) carried an FH mutation. Within any stratum of observed LDL cholesterol, risk of CAD was higher among FH mutation carriers than noncarriers. Compared with a reference group with LDL cholesterol <130 mg/dl and no mutation, participants with LDL cholesterol ?190 mg/dl and no FH mutation had a 6-fold higher risk for CAD (odds ratio: 6.0; 95% confidence interval: 5.2 to 6.9), whereas those with both LDL cholesterol ?190 mg/dl and an FH mutation demonstrated a 22-fold increased risk (odds ratio: 22.3; 95% confidence interval: 10.7 to 53.2). In an analysis of participants with serial lipid measurements over many years, FH mutation carriers had higher cumulative exposure to LDL cholesterol than noncarriers. CONCLUSIONS:Among participants with LDL cholesterol ?190 mg/dl, gene sequencing identified an FH mutation in <2%. However, for any observed LDL cholesterol, FH mutation carriers had substantially increased risk for CAD.