Impact of 3'UTR genetic variants in PCSK9 and LDLR genes on plasma lipid traits and response to atorvastatin in Brazilian subjects: a pilot study.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Hypercholesterolemia is a complex trait, resulting from a genetic interaction with lifestyle habits. Polymorphisms are a major source of genetic heterogeneity, and variations in 2 key cholesterol homeostasis genes; low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type-9 (PCSK9), lead to dyslipidemia. So, we investigated the relation of 2 variants located in the 3'-UTR (3'-untranslated region) of LDLR (rs14158, G>A) and PCSK9 (rs17111557, C>T) with lipid profile and atorvastatin response. METHODS:SNP influence on lipid profile was assessed in hypercholesterolemic patients (HC; n = 89) using atorvastatin (10 mg/day/4 weeks) and in normolipidemic subjects (NL; n = 171). Genotyping was completed through real-time PCR using TaqMan assays. RESULTS:rs14158 G allele was higher in HC than in NL group (P = 0.043). NL subjects carrying the T allele of the PCSK9 variant had lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) than C allele carriers (P = 0.009). There was no association between LDLR and PCSK9 SNPs and atorvastatin response. Additionally, the PCSK9 variant creates a microRNA interaction site, which could implicate an epigenetic mechanism in PCSK9-dependent HDL-C regulation. CONCLUSIONS:The rs14158 SNP contributes to hypercholesterolemia. Also, a putative microRNA regulation may influence HDL-C variability observed in rs17111557 carriers. Cholesterol-lowering response to atorvastatin is not influenced by LDLR and PCSK9 variants.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is a key component of the lipid metabolism. Polymorphisms at the apoE gene (APOE) have been associated with cardiovascular disease, lipid levels and lipid-lowering response to statins. We evaluated the effects on APOE expression of hypercholesterolemia, APOE ε2/ε3/ε4 genotypes and atorvastatin treatment in Brazilian individuals. The relationship of APOE genotypes and plasma lipids and atorvastatin response was also tested in this population. METHODS: APOE ε2/ε3/ε4 and plasma lipids were evaluated in 181 normolipidemic (NL) and 181 hypercholesterolemic (HC) subjects. HC individuals with indication for lowering-cholesterol treatment (n = 141) were treated with atorvastatin (10 mg/day/4-weeks). APOE genotypes and APOE mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were analyzed by TaqMan real time PCR. RESULTS: HC had lower APOE expression than NL group (p < 0.05) and individuals with low APOE expression showed higher plasma total and LDL cholesterol and apoB, as well as higher apoAI (p < 0.05). Individuals carrying ε2 allele have reduced risk for hypercholesterolemia (OR: 0.27, 95% I.C.: 0.08-0.85, p < 0.05) and NL ε2 carriers had lower total and LDL cholesterol and apoB levels, and higher HDL cholesterol than non-carriers (p < 0.05). APOE genotypes did not affect APOE expression and atorvastatin response. Atorvastatin treatment do not modify APOE expression, however those individuals without LDL cholesterol goal achievement after atorvastatin treatment according to the IV Brazilian Guidelines for Dyslipidemia and Atherosclerosis Prevention had lower APOE expression than patients with desirable response after the treatment (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: APOE expression in PBMC is modulated by hypercholesterolemia and the APOE mRNA level regulates the plasma lipid profile. Moreover the expression profile is not modulated neither by atorvastatin nor APOE genotypes. In our population, APOE ε2 allele confers protection against hypercholesterolemia and a less atherogenic lipid profile. Moreover, low APOE expression after treatment of patients with poor response suggests a possible role of APOE level in atorvastatin response.
Project description:Proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (Pcsk9) is a subtilisin serine protease with a putative role in cholesterol metabolism. Pcsk9 expression is down-regulated by dietary cholesterol, and mutations in Pcsk9 have been associated with a form of autosomal dominant hypercholesterolemia. To study the function of Pcsk9 in mice, an adenovirus constitutively expressing murine Pcsk9 (Pcsk9-Ad) was used. Pcsk9 overexpression in wild-type mice caused a 2-fold increase in plasma total cholesterol and a 5-fold increase in non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, with no increase in HDL cholesterol, as compared with mice infected with a control adenovirus. Fast protein liquid chromatography analysis showed that the increase in non-HDL cholesterol was due to an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This effect appeared to depend on the LDL receptor (LDLR) because LDLR knockout mice infected with Pcsk9-Ad had no change in plasma cholesterol levels as compared with knockout mice infected with a control adenovirus. Furthermore, whereas overexpression of Pcsk9 had no effect on LDLR mRNA levels, there was a near absence of LDLR protein in animals overexpressing Pcsk9. These results were confirmed in vitro by the demonstration that transfection of Pcsk9 in McA-RH7777 cells caused a reduction in LDLR protein and LDL binding. In summary, these results indicate that overexpression of Pcsk9 interferes with LDLR-mediated LDL cholesterol uptake. Because Pcsk9 and LDLR are coordinately regulated by cholesterol, Pcsk9 may be involved in a novel mechanism to modulate LDLR function by an alternative pathway than classic cholesterol inhibition of sterol regulatory element binding protein-mediated transcription.
Project description:The significance of maternal cholesterol transporting to the fetus under normal as well as pathological circumstances is less understood. The objective of this study was to observe the effects of maternal hypercholesterolemia on placental cholesterol transportation. Human full-time placenta, maternal and venous cord blood were sampled at delivery from the pregnant women with serum total cholesterol (TC) concentrations at third trimester higher than 7.25 mM (n = 19) and the pregnant women with normal TC concentrations (n = 19). Serum lipids and expression of genes related to cholesterol transportation were measured by western blot or real-time PCR. The results indicated that serum TC, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels were significantly increased, in pregnancies, but decreased in cord blood in hypercholesterolemic group compared to the matched control group. All the subjects were no-drinking, non-smoker, and gestational disease free. The mRNA expression of lipoprotein receptors, including LDLR and VLDLR were significantly increased, while the protein expression of PCSK9 was significantly increased in hypercholesterolemic placenta. In conclusion, maternal hypercholesterolemia might decrease the transportation of cholesterol from mother to fetus because of the high levels of PCSK9 protein expression.
Project description:Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) regulates low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) protein levels and function. Loss of PCSK9 increases LDLR levels in liver and reduces plasma LDL cholesterol (LDLc), whereas excess PCSK9 activity decreases liver LDLR levels and increases plasma LDLc. Here, we have developed active, cross-species, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) capable of targeting murine, rat, nonhuman primate (NHP), and human PCSK9. For in vivo studies, PCSK9 and control siRNAs were formulated in a lipidoid nanoparticle (LNP). Liver-specific siRNA silencing of PCSK9 in mice and rats reduced PCSK9 mRNA levels by 50-70%. The reduction in PCSK9 transcript was associated with up to a 60% reduction in plasma cholesterol concentrations. These effects were shown to be mediated by an RNAi mechanism, using 5'-RACE. In transgenic mice expressing human PCSK9, siRNAs silenced the human PCSK9 transcript by >70% and significantly reduced PCSK9 plasma protein levels. In NHP, a single dose of siRNA targeting PCSK9 resulted in a rapid, durable, and reversible lowering of plasma PCSK9, apolipoprotein B, and LDLc, without measurable effects on either HDL cholesterol (HDLc) or triglycerides (TGs). The effects of PCSK9 silencing lasted for 3 weeks after a single bolus i.v. administration. These results validate PCSK9 targeting with RNAi therapeutics as an approach to specifically lower LDLc, paving the way for the development of PCSK9-lowering agents as a future strategy for treatment of hypercholesterolemia.
Project description:Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that arises because of loss-of-function mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia is a candidate for gene therapy using adeno-associated viral vectors. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and inducible degrader of LDLR (IDOL) negatively regulate LDLR protein and could dampen adeno-associated viral vector encoded LDLR expression.We sought to create vectors expressing gain-of-function human LDLR variants that are resistant to degradation by human PCSK9 (hPCSK9) and IDOL and thereby enhance hepatic LDLR protein abundance and plasma LDL cholesterol reduction.Amino acid substitutions were introduced into the coding sequence of human LDLR cDNA to reduce interaction with hPCSK9 and human IDOL. A panel of mutant human LDLRs was initially screened in vitro for escape from PCSK9. The variant human LDLR-L318D was further evaluated using a mouse model of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia lacking endogenous LDLR and apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme catalytic, APOBEC-1 (double knockout). Administration of wild-type human LDLR to double knockout mice, expressing hPCSK9, led to diminished LDLR activity. However, LDLR-L318D was resistant to hPCSK9-mediated degradation and effectively reduced cholesterol levels. Similarly, the LDLR-K809R\C818A construct avoided human IDOL regulation and achieved stable reductions in serum cholesterol. An adeno-associated viral vector serotype 8.LDLR-L318D\K809R\C818A vector that carried all 3 amino acid substitutions conferred partial resistance to both hPCSK9- and human IDOL-mediated degradation.Amino acid substitutions in the human LDLR confer partial resistance to PCSK9 and IDOL regulatory pathways with improved reduction in cholesterol levels and improve on a potential gene therapeutic approach to treat homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia subjects.
Project description:Recent findings in molecular biology implicate the involvement of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) in low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) protein regulation. The cholesterol-lowering potential of anti-PCSK9 antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) modified with bridged nucleic acids (BNA-AONs) including 2',4'-BNA (also called as locked nucleic acid (LNA)) and 2',4'-BNA(NC) chemistries were demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo. An in vitro transfection study revealed that all of the BNA-AONs induce dose-dependent reductions in PCSK9 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels concomitantly with increases in LDLR protein levels. BNA-AONs were administered to atherogenic diet-fed C57BL/6J mice twice weekly for 6 weeks; 2',4'-BNA-AON that targeted murine PCSK9 induced a dose-dependent reduction in hepatic PCSK9 mRNA and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C); the 43% reduction of serum LDL-C was achieved at a dose of 20?mg/kg/injection with only moderate increases in toxicological indicators. In addition, the serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels increased. These results support antisense inhibition of PCSK9 as a potential therapeutic approach. When compared with 2',4'-BNA-AON, 2',4'-BNA(NC)-AON showed an earlier LDL-C-lowering effect and was more tolerable in mice. Our results validate the optimization of 2',4'-BNA(NC)-based anti-PCSK9 antisense molecules to produce a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.
Project description:Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is the most common form of autosomal-dominant hypercholesterolemia, and is caused by mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene. Heterozygous FH is characterized by elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and early-onset cardiovascular disease, whereas homozygous FH results in more severe LDL cholesterol elevation with death by 20 years of age. We present here the case of an African-American female FH patient presenting with a myocardial infarction at the age of 48, recurrent angina pectoris and numerous coronary artery stents. Her pretreated LDL cholesterol levels were more typical of a homozygous FH pattern and she was resistant to conventional lipid-lowering treatment, yet her other clinical parameters were not necessarily consistent with homozygous FH. Genetic testing revealed two LDLR variants on the same chromosome: one a novel missense mutation in exon 14 (Cys681Gly) and the other a promoter variant (IVS1-217C>T) previously shown to result in increased LDLR transcription. Disease-associated PCSK9 or APOB mutations were not identified in this individual. Overall, her genetic and clinical profile suggests that enhanced expression of the mutant LDLR allele resulted in a severe phenotype with characteristics of both heterozygous and homozygous FH.
Project description:Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in the genes coding for the low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type-9 (PCSK9) or apo-lipoprotein B-100 (APOB). The aim of the present work was to determine the genetic basis of dyslipidemia in 11 unrelated Pakistani families.High resolution melting (HRM), sequencing and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP).Probands were screened for the promoter and all coding regions, including intron/exon boundaries, of LDLR and PCSK9 and part of exon 26 of APOB including p.(R3527Q). Two families were identified with previously unreported LDLR mutations (c.1019_1020delinsTG, p.(C340L) and c.1634G>A, p.(G545E)). Both probands had tendon xanthomas or xanthelasma and/or a history of cardiovascular disease. Co-segregation with hypercholesterolemia was demonstrated in both families. In silico studies predicted these variations to be damaging. In two families, novel PCSK9 variations were identified (exon2; c.314G>A, p.(R105Q) and exon3; c.464C>T, p.(P155L)). In silico studies suggested both were likely to be damaging, and family members carrying the p.(105Q) allele had lower total cholesterol levels, suggesting this is a loss-of-function mutation. For c.464C>T p.(P155L) the small number of relatives available precluded any strong inference.This report brings to seven the number of different LDLR mutations reported in FH patients from Pakistan and, as expected in this heterogeneous population, no common LDLR mutation has been identified.
Project description:Studies in animals showed that PCSK9 is involved in HDL metabolism. We investigated the molecular mechanism by which PCSK9 regulates HDL cholesterol concentration and also whether Pcsk9 inactivation might affect cholesterol efflux capacity of serum and atherosclerotic fatty streak volume.Mass spectrometry and western blot were used to analyze the level of apolipoprotein E (APOE) and A1 (APOA1). A mouse model overexpressing human LDLR was used to test the effect of high levels of liver LDLR on the concentration of HDL cholesterol and APOE-containing HDL subfractions. Pcsk9 knockout males lacking LDLR and APOE were used to test whether LDLR and APOE are necessary for PCSK9-mediated HDL cholesterol regulation. We also investigated the effects of Pcsk9 inactivation on cholesterol efflux capacity of serum using THP-1 and J774.A1 macrophage foam cells and atherosclerotic fatty streak volume in the aortic sinus of Pcsk9 knockout males fed an atherogenic diet.APOE and APOA1 were reduced in the same HDL subfractions of Pcsk9 knockout and human LDLR transgenic male mice. In Pcsk9/Ldlr double-knockout mice, HDL cholesterol concentration was lower than in Ldlr knockout mice and higher than in wild-type controls. In Pcsk9/Apoe double-knockout mice, HDL cholesterol concentration was similar to that of Apoe knockout males. In Pcsk9 knockout males, THP-1 macrophage cholesterol efflux capacity of serum was reduced and the fatty streak lesion volume was similar to wild-type controls.In mice, LDLR and APOE are important factors for PCSK9-mediated HDL regulation. Our data suggest that, although LDLR plays a major role in PCSK9-mediated regulation of HDL cholesterol concentration, it is not the only mechanism and that, regardless of mechanism, APOE is essential. Pcsk9 inactivation decreases the HDL cholesterol concentration and cholesterol efflux capacity in serum, but does not increase atherosclerotic fatty streak volume.
Project description:Elevated levels of plasma low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, leading to familial hypercholesterolemia, are enhanced by mutations in at least three major genes, the LDL receptor (LDLR), its ligand apolipoprotein B, and the proprotein convertase PCSK9. Single point mutations in PCSK9 are associated with either hyper- or hypocholesterolemia. Accordingly, PCSK9 is an attractive target for treatment of dyslipidemia. PCSK9 binds the epidermal growth factor domain A (EGF-A) of the LDLR and directs it to endosomes/lysosomes for destruction. Although the mechanism by which PCSK9 regulates LDLR degradation is not fully resolved, it seems to involve both intracellular and extracellular pathways. Here, we show that clathrin light chain small interfering RNAs that block intracellular trafficking from the trans-Golgi network to lysosomes rapidly increased LDLR levels within HepG2 cells in a PCSK9-dependent fashion without affecting the ability of exogenous PCSK9 to enhance LDLR degradation. In contrast, blocking the extracellular LDLR endocytosis/degradation pathway by a 4-, 6-, or 24-h incubation of cells with Dynasore or an EGF-AB peptide or by knockdown of endogenous autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia did not significantly affect LDLR levels. The present data from HepG2 cells and mouse primary hepatocytes favor a model whereby depending on the dose and/or incubation period, endogenous PCSK9 enhances the degradation of the LDLR both extra- and intracellularly. Therefore, targeting either pathway, or both, would be an effective method to reduce PCSK9 activity in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and coronary heart disease.