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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2009 Jan;53(1):60-5. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e318195bfbc.

Varespladib (A-002), a secretory phospholipase A2 inhibitor, reduces atherosclerosis and aneurysm formation in ApoE-/- mice.

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  • 1Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc, San Mateo, CA, USA.


The family of secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) enzymes has been associated with inflammatory diseases and tissue injury including atherosclerosis. A-001 is a novel inhibitor of sPLA2 enzymes discovered by structure-based drug design, and A-002 is the orally bioavailable prodrug currently in clinical development. A-001 inhibited human and mouse sPLA2 group IIA, V, and X enzymes with IC50 values in the low nM range. A-002 (1 mg/kg) led to high serum levels of A-001 and inhibited PLA2 activity in transgenic mice overexpressing human sPLA2 group IIA in C57BL/6J background. In addition, the effects of A-002 on atherosclerosis in 2 ApoE mouse models were evaluated using en face analysis. (1) In a high-fat diet model, A-002 (30 and 90 mg/kg twice a day for 16 weeks) reduced aortic atherosclerosis by 50% (P < 0.05). Plasma total cholesterol was decreased (P < 0.05) by 1 month and remained lowered throughout the study. (2) In an accelerated atherosclerosis model, with angiotensin II-induced aortic lesions and aneurysms, A-002 (30 mg/kg twice a day) reduced aortic atherosclerosis by approximately 40% (P < 0.05) and attenuated aneurysm formation (P = 0.0096). Thus, A-002 was effective at significantly decreasing total cholesterol, atherogenesis, and aneurysm formation in these 2 ApoE mouse models.

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