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      Lowering serum lipids via PCSK9-targeting drugs: current advances and future perspectives

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          Abstract

          Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), also known as neural apoptosis regulated convertase (NARC1), is a key modulator of cholesterol metabolism. PCSK9 increases the serum concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by escorting low-density lipoprotein receptors (LDLRs) from the membrane of hepatic cells into lysosomes, where the LDLRs are degraded. Owing to the importance of PCSK9 in lipid metabolism, considerable effort has been made over the past decade in developing drugs targeting PCSK9 to lower serum lipid levels. Nevertheless, some problems and challenges remain. In this review we first describes the structure and function of PCSK9 and its gene polymorphisms. We then discuss the various designs of pharmacological targets of PCSK9, including those that block the binding of PCSK9 to hepatic LDLRs (mimetic peptides, adnectins, and monoclonal antibodies), inhibit PCSK9 expression (the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/Cas9 platform, small molecules, antisense oligonucleotides, and small interfering RNAs), and interfere with PCSK9 secretion. Finally, this review highlights future challenges in this field, including safety concerns associated with PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies, the limited utility of PCSK9 inhibitors in the central nervous system, and the cost-effectiveness of PCSK9 inhibitors.

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          Most cited references 67

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          Binding of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 to epidermal growth factor-like repeat A of low density lipoprotein receptor decreases receptor recycling and increases degradation.

          Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) promotes degradation of hepatic low density lipoprotein receptors (LDLR), the major route of clearance of circulating cholesterol. Gain-of-function mutations in PCSK9 cause hypercholesterolemia and premature atherosclerosis, whereas loss-of-function mutations result in hypocholesterolemia and protection from heart disease. Recombinant human PCSK9 binds the LDLR on the surface of cultured hepatocytes and promotes degradation of the receptor after internalization. Here we localized the site of binding of PCSK9 within the extracellular domain of the LDLR and determined the fate of the receptor after PCSK9 binding. Recombinant human PCSK9 interacted in a sequence-specific manner with the first epidermal growth factor-like repeat (EGF-A) in the EGF homology domain of the human LDLR. Similar binding specificity was observed between PCSK9 and purified EGF-A. Binding to EGF-A was calcium-dependent and increased dramatically with reduction in pH from 7 to 5.2. The addition of PCSK9, but not heat-inactivated PCSK9, to the medium of cultured hepatocytes resulted in redistribution of the receptor from the plasma membrane to lysosomes. These data are consistent with a model in which PCSK9 binding to EGF-A interferes with an acid-dependent conformational change required for receptor recycling. As a consequence, the LDLR is rerouted from the endosome to the lysosome where it is degraded.
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            Effect of a monoclonal antibody to PCSK9, REGN727/SAR236553, to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia on stable statin dose with or without ezetimibe therapy: a phase 2 randomised controlled trial.

            Inhibition of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 serine protease (PCSK9) resulted in large reductions of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in phase 1 trials. We assessed the efficacy and safety of various doses and dosing intervals of REGN727, a monoclonal antibody to PCSK9, added to statins, to further lower LDL-C in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia. This multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial was done at 16 lipid clinics in the USA and Canada. Between Jan 18, 2011, and Nov 7, 2011, we enrolled adults with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia and LDL-C concentrations of 2·6 mmol/L or higher on stable diet and statin dose, with or without ezetimibe. Patients were randomly assigned to receive REGN727 150 mg, 200 mg, or 300 mg every 4 weeks, or 150 mg every 2 weeks, or placebo every 2 weeks (ratio 1:1:1:1:1). Randomisation was stratified by concomitant use of ezetimibe at baseline. Investigators, study staff, and patients were masked to treatment group. Blinding was maintained by administration of placebo alternating with REGN727 for the groups of 4 week dosing. The primary endpoint was mean percent reduction in LDL-C from baseline at week 12 and was analysed in the modified intention-to-treat population with an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) model with treatment group. This trial is registered in ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT 01266876. 77 patients were randomly assigned to study groups (15-16 patients per group) and all were analysed. Least-squares (LS) mean LDL-C reduction from baseline to week 12 was 28·9% (SE 5·08) for 150 mg every 4 weeks (p=0·0113), 31·54% (4·91) for 200 mg every 4 weeks (p=0·0035), 42·53% (5·09) for 300 mg every 4 weeks (p<0·0001), and 67·90% (4·85) for 150 mg every 2 weeks (p<0·0001), compared with 10·65% (5·04) with placebo. One serious adverse event was reported with placebo and none with REGN727. No increases of more than three times the upper limit of normal were reported for hepatic transaminases or creatinine kinase. The most common adverse event was injection-site reaction with one patient in the group of 300 mg REGN727 terminating treatment. REGN727 was well tolerated and achieved substantial further LDL-C reduction in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia and elevated LDL-C treated with high-dose statins, with or without ezetimibe. REGN727 has the potential to provide optimum control of LDL-C in patients with this disorder. Sanofi US and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Incorporated. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Permanent alteration of PCSK9 with in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing.

              Individuals with naturally occurring loss-of-function proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) mutations experience reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and protection against cardiovascular disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Acta Pharmacol Sin
                Acta Pharmacol. Sin
                Acta Pharmacologica Sinica
                Nature Publishing Group
                1671-4083
                1745-7254
                March 2017
                23 January 2017
                : 38
                : 3
                : 301-311
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, Key Lab for Arteriosclerology of Hunan Province, University of South China , Hengyang 421001, China
                [2 ]Medical College, Hunan University of Chinese Medicine , Changsha 410208, China
                Author notes
                Article
                aps2016134
                10.1038/aps.2016.134
                5342665
                28112180
                6498c8e4-a191-461e-91b0-12b03005bdfe
                Copyright © 2017 CPS and SIMM
                Categories
                Review

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