PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies reverse the pro-inflammatory profile of monocytes in familial hypercholesterolaemia

Sophie J. Bernelot Moens, Annette E. Neele, Jeffrey Kroon, Fleur M. Van Der Valk, Jan Van Den Bossche, Marten A. Hoeksema, Renate M. Hoogeveen, Johan G. Schnitzler, Marie T. Baccara-Dinet, Garen Manvelian, Menno P.J. De Winther, Erik S.G. Stroes

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Aims Migration of monocytes into the arterial wall contributes to arterial inflammation and atherosclerosis progression. Since elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels have been associated with activation of plasma monocytes, intensive LDL-C lowering may reverse these pro-inflammatory changes. Using proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) which selectively reduce LDL-C, we studied the impact of LDL-C lowering on monocyte phenotype and function in patients with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) not using statins due to statin-associated muscle symptoms. Methods and results We assessed monocyte phenotype and function using flow cytometry and a trans-endothelial migration assay in FH patients (n = 22: LDL 6.8 ± 1.9 mmol/L) and healthy controls (n = 18, LDL 2.9 ± 0.8 mmol/L). Monocyte chemokine receptor (CCR) 2 expression was approximaterly three-fold higher in FH patients compared with controls. C-C chemokine receptor type 2 (CCR2) expression correlated significantly with plasma LDL-C levels (r = 0.709) and was positively associated with intracellular lipid accumulation. Monocytes from FH patients also displayed enhanced migratory capacity ex vivo. After 24 weeks of PCSK9 mAb treatment (n = 17), plasma LDL-C was reduced by 49%, which coincided with reduced intracellular lipid accumulation and reduced CCR2 expression. Functional relevance was substantiated by the reversal of enhanced migratory capacity of monocytes following PCSK9 mAb therapy. Conclusions Monocytes of FH patients have a pro-inflammatory phenotype, which is dampened by LDL-C lowering by PCSK9 mAb therapy. LDL-C lowering was paralleled by reduced intracellular lipid accumulation, suggesting that LDL-C lowering itself is associated with anti-inflammatory effects on circulating monocytes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1584-1593
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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