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Mol Ther. 2013 Mar;21(3):602-9. doi: 10.1038/mt.2012.264. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Exon skipping of hepatic APOB pre-mRNA with splice-switching oligonucleotides reduces LDL cholesterol in vivo.

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1
Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, UCL, London, UK.

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.

PMID:
23319054
PMCID:
PMC3589156
DOI:
10.1038/mt.2012.264
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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