Antisense oligonucleotides for the treatment of dyslipidaemia

Maartje E. Visser, Joseph L. Witztum, Erik S. G. Stroes, John J. P. Kastelein

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86 Citations (Scopus)


Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are short synthetic analogues of natural nucleic acids designed to specifically bind to a target messenger RNA (mRNA) by WatsonCrick hybridization, inducing selective degradation of the mRNA or prohibiting translation of the selected mRNA into protein. Antisense technology has the ability to inhibit unique targets with high specificity and can be used to inhibit synthesis of a wide range of proteins that could influence lipoprotein levels and other targets. A number of different classes of antisense agents are under development. To date, mipomersen, a 2-O-methoxyethyl phosphorothioate 20-mer ASO, is the most advanced ASO in clinical development. It is a second-generation ASO developed to inhibit the synthesis of apolipoprotein B (apoB)-100 in the liver. In Phase 3 clinical trials, mipomersen has been shown to significantly reduce plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) as well as other atherogenic apoB containing lipoproteins such as lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] and small-dense LDL particles. Although concerns have been raised because of an increase in intrahepatic triglyceride content, preliminary data from long-term studies suggest that with continued treatment, liver fat levels tend to stabilize or decline. Further studies are needed to evaluate potential clinical relevance of these changes. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin-9 (PCSK9) is another promising novel target for lowering LDL-c by ASOs. Both second-generation ASOs and ASOs using locked nucleic acid technology have been developed to inhibit PCSK9 and are under clinical development. Other targets currently being addressed include apoC-III and apo(a) or Lp(a). By directly inhibiting the synthesis of specific proteins, ASO technology offers a promising new approach to influence the metabolism of lipids and to control lipoprotein levels. Its application to a wide variety of potential targets can be expected if these agents prove to be clinically safe and effective
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1451-1458
JournalEuropean Heart journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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