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      Vaccine Against PCSK9 Improved Renal Fibrosis by Regulating Fatty Acid β‐Oxidation


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          Defects in the renal fatty acid β‐oxidation pathway have been implicated in the development of renal fibrosis. Our group has developed a therapeutic vaccine targeting PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9), named PCSK9Qβ‐003. In this study, we investigated the potential effectiveness of the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine on hypercholesterolemia with renal fibrosis.

          Methods and Results

          The low‐density lipoprotein receptor +/− male mice fed with a high‐cholesterol (1%) Western diet were randomly assigned into 4 groups: the sham group (or the control group), the phosphate‐buffered saline group, the Qβ virus‐like particles group and the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine group. Mice of the PCSK9Qβ‐003 group were injected with the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine (100 μg/time) every 2 or 4 weeks. The mice were administered with either unilateral ureteral obstruction for 2 weeks or N‐nitro‐ l‐arginine methyl ester (50 mg/kg per day) for 6 weeks to establish a renal fibrosis model. Compared with the other 3 groups, the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine obviously decreased total cholesterol and low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol in low‐density lipoprotein receptor +/− mice with hypercholesterolemia. Compared with the phosphate‐buffered saline and Qβ virus‐like particles groups, the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine improved hepatic steatosis and renal function. Histology analysis showed that the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine significantly ameliorated renal lipid accumulation and renal fibrosis. Moreover, the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine obviously upregulated the expression of low‐density lipoprotein receptor, very‐low‐density lipoprotein receptor, sterol‐regulatory element binding protein 2, and fatty acid β‐oxidation–related factors, and ameliorated renal fibrosis‐related molecules both in the unilateral ureteral obstruction and N‐nitro‐ l‐arginine methyl ester models.


          This study suggested that the PCSK9Qβ‐003 vaccine improved renal lipid accumulation and renal fibrosis by regulating fatty acid β‐oxidation, which may provide a promising method for treating hypercholesterolemia with renal fibrosis.

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          Most cited references29

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          Statin-associated myopathy.

          Statins (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors) are associated with skeletal muscle complaints, including clinically important myositis and rhabdomyolysis, mild serum creatine kinase (CK) elevations, myalgia with and without elevated CK levels, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, and persistent myalgia and CK elevations after statin withdrawal. We performed a literature review to provide a clinical summary of statin-associated myopathy and discuss possible mediating mechanisms. We also update the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports on statin-associated rhabdomyolysis. Articles on statin myopathy were identified via a PubMed search through November 2002 and articles on statin clinical trials, case series, and review articles were identified via a PubMed search through January 2003. Adverse event reports of statin-associated rhabdomyolysis were also collected from the FDA MEDWATCH database. The literature review found that reports of muscle problems during statin clinical trials are extremely rare. The FDA MEDWATCH Reporting System lists 3339 cases of statin-associated rhabdomyolysis reported between January 1, 1990, and March 31, 2002. Cerivastatin was the most commonly implicated statin. Few data are available regarding the frequency of less-serious events such as muscle pain and weakness, which may affect 1% to 5% of patients. The risk of rhabdomyolysis and other adverse effects with statin use can be exacerbated by several factors, including compromised hepatic and renal function, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and concomitant medications. Medications such as the fibrate gemfibrozil alter statin metabolism and increase statin plasma concentration. How statins injure skeletal muscle is not clear, although recent evidence suggests that statins reduce the production of small regulatory proteins that are important for myocyte maintenance.
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            PGC1α-dependent NAD biosynthesis links oxidative metabolism to renal protection

            The energetic burden of continuously concentrating solutes against gradients along the tubule may render the kidney especially vulnerable to ischemia. Indeed, acute kidney injury (AKI) affects 3% of all hospitalized patients. 1,2 Here we show that the mitochondrial biogenesis regulator, PGC1α, 3,4 is a pivotal determinant of renal recovery from injury by regulating NAD biosynthesis. Following renal ischemia, PGC1α−/− mice developed local deficiency of the NAD precursor niacinamide (Nam), marked fat accumulation, and failure to re-establish normal function. Remarkably, exogenous Nam improved local NAD levels, fat accumulation, and renal function in post-ischemic PGC1α−/− mice. Inducible tubular transgenic mice (iNephPGC1α) recapitulated the effects of Nam supplementation, including more local NAD and less fat accumulation with better renal function after ischemia. PGC1α coordinately upregulated the enzymes that synthesize NAD de novo from amino acids whereas PGC1α deficiency or AKI attenuated the de novo pathway. Nam enhanced NAD via the enzyme NAMPT and augmented production of the fat breakdown product beta-hydroxybutyrate (β-OHB), leading to increased prostaglandin PGE2, a secreted autocoid that maintains renal function. 5 Nam treatment reversed established ischemic AKI and also prevented AKI in an unrelated toxic model. Inhibition of β-OHB signaling or prostaglandins similarly abolished PGC1α-dependent renoprotection. Given the importance of mitochondrial health in aging and the function of metabolically active organs, the results implicate Nam and NAD as key effectors for achieving PGC1α-dependent stress resistance.
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              Impairment of PPARαand the Fatty Acid Oxidation Pathway Aggravates Renal Fibrosis during Aging

              Defects in the renal fatty acid oxidation (FAO) pathway have been implicated in the development of renal fibrosis. Although, compared with young kidneys, aged kidneys show significantly increased fibrosis with impaired kidney function, the mechanisms underlying the effects of aging on renal fibrosis have not been investigated. In this study, we investigated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) and the FAO pathway as regulators of age-associated renal fibrosis. The expression of PPARα and the FAO pathway-associated proteins significantly decreased with the accumulation of lipids in the renal tubular epithelial region during aging in rats. In particular, decreased PPARα protein expression associated with increased expression of PPARα-targeting microRNAs. Among the microRNAs with increased expression during aging, miR-21 efficiently decreased PPARα expression and impaired FAO when ectopically expressed in renal epithelial cells. In cells pretreated with oleic acid to induce lipid stress, miR-21 treatment further enhanced lipid accumulation. Furthermore, treatment with miR-21 significantly exacerbated the TGF-β-induced fibroblast phenotype of epithelial cells. We verified the physiologic importance of our findings in a calorie restriction model. Calorie restriction rescued the impaired FAO pathway during aging and slowed fibrosis development. Finally, compared with kidneys of aged littermate controls, kidneys of aged PPARα-/- mice showed exaggerated lipid accumulation, with decreased activity of the FAO pathway and a severe fibrosis phenotype. Our results suggest that impaired renal PPARα signaling during aging aggravates renal fibrosis development, and targeting PPARα is useful for preventing age-associated CKD.

                Author and article information

                J Am Heart Assoc
                J Am Heart Assoc
                Journal of the American Heart Association: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                24 December 2019
                07 January 2020
                : 9
                : 1 ( doiID: 10.1002/jah3.v9.1 )
                : e014358
                [ 1 ] Department of Cardiology Union Hospital Tongji Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan China
                [ 2 ] Institute of Cardiology Union Hospital Tongji Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan China
                [ 3 ] Key Laboratory of Molecular Biological Targeted Therapies of the Ministry of Education Union Hospital Tongji Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan China
                Author notes
                [*] [* ] Correspondence to: Yuhua Liao, MD, and Zhihua Qiu, PhD, Department of Cardiology, Institute of Cardiology, Key Lab of Molecular Biological Targeted Therapies of the Ministry of Education, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, No. 1277 Jiefang Avenue, Wuhan 430022, China. E‐mail: liaoyh27@ 123456163.com ; qiu_zhihua512@ 123456163.com

                Dr Wu, Dr Yanzhao Zhou, and Dr Pan contributed equally to this work.

                © 2019 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

                : 20 August 2019
                : 13 November 2019
                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 1, Pages: 18, Words: 7167
                Funded by: National Natural Science Foundation of China , open-funder-registry 10.13039/501100001809;
                Award ID: 91439207
                Award ID: 81900459
                Award ID: 81770366
                Award ID: 81670461
                Award ID: 81500388
                Original Research
                Original Research
                Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease
                Custom metadata
                07 January 2020
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.7.4 mode:remove_FC converted:06.01.2020

                Cardiovascular Medicine
                fatty acid β‐oxidation,hyperlipidemia,proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9,renal fibrosis,vaccine,fibrosis,lipids and cholesterol,nephrology and kidney


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