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J Cyst Fibros. 2019 Aug 29. pii: S1569-1993(19)30868-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2019.08.021. [Epub ahead of print]

Whole-blood transcriptomic responses to lumacaftor/ivacaftor therapy in cystic fibrosis.

Author information

1
Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA; Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA. Electronic address: Benjamin.Kopp@NationwideChildrens.org.
2
The Institute for Genomic Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
3
Center for Vaccines and Immunity, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
4
Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
5
Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
6
Division of Gastroenterology, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cystic fibrosis (CF) remains without a definitive cure. Novel therapeutics targeting the causative defect in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene are in clinical use. Lumacaftor/ivacaftor is a CFTR modulator approved for patients homozygous for the CFTR variant p.Phe508del, but there are wide variations in treatment responses preventing prediction of patient responses. We aimed to determine changes in gene expression related to treatment initiation and response.

METHODS:

Whole-blood transcriptomics was performed using RNA-Seq in 20 patients with CF pre- and 6 months post-lumacaftor/ivacaftor (drug) initiation and 20 non-CF healthy controls. Correlation of gene expression with clinical variables was performed by stratification via clinical responses.

RESULTS:

We identified 491 genes that were differentially expressed in CF patients (pre-drug) compared with non-CF controls and 36 genes when comparing pre-drug to post-drug profiles. Both pre- and post-drug CF profiles were associated with marked overexpression of inflammation-related genes and apoptosis genes, and significant under-expression of T cell and NK cell-related genes compared to non-CF. CF patients post-drug demonstrated normalized protein synthesis expression, and decreased expression of cell-death genes compared to pre-drug profiles, irrespective of clinical response. However, CF clinical responders demonstrated changes in eIF2 signaling, oxidative phosphorylation, IL-17 signaling, and mitochondrial function compared to non-responders. Top overexpressed genes (MMP9 and SOCS3) that decreased post-drug were validated by qRT-PCR. Functional assays demonstrated that CF monocytes normalized calcium (increases MMP9 expression) concentrations post-drug.

CONCLUSIONS:

Transcriptomics revealed differentially regulated pathways in CF patients at baseline compared to non-CF, and in clinical responders to lumacaftor/ivacaftor.

KEYWORDS:

CFTR; RNA-Seq; Transcriptomics

PMID:
31474496
DOI:
10.1016/j.jcf.2019.08.021

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