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Atherosclerosis. 2013 Jun;228(2):380-5. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.03.029. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Beyond LDL-C lowering: distinct molecular sphingolipids are good indicators of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) deficiency.

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Zora Biosciences, Biologinkuja 1, FI-02150 Espoo, Finland.



Inhibition of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) has been proposed to be a potential new therapeutic target for treatment of hypercholesterolaemia. However, little is known about the effects of PCSK9 inhibition on the lipidome.


We performed molecular lipidomic analyses of plasma samples obtained from PCSK9-deficient mice, and serum of human carriers of a loss-of-function variant in the PCSK9 gene (R46L).


In both mouse and man, PCSK9 deficiency caused a decrease in several cholesteryl esters (CE) and short fatty acid chain containing sphingolipid species such as CE 16:0, glucosyl/galactosylceramide (Glc/GalCer) d18:1/16:0, and lactosylceramide (LacCer) d18:1/16:0. In mice, the changes in lipid concentrations were most prominent when animals were given regular chow diet. In man, a number of molecular lipid species was shown to decrease significantly even when LDL-cholesterol was non-significantly reduced by 10% only. Western diet attenuated the lipid lowering potency of PCSK9 deficiency in mice.


Plasma molecular lipid species may be utilized for characterizing novel compounds inhibiting PCSK9 and as sensitive efficacy markers of the PCSK9 inhibition.

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