Regulus Therapeutics this week announced the publication of preclinical data showing that antagonism of microRNA-33 promotes the clearance of excess cholesterol and regression of atherosclerosis in mouse models with established atherosclerotic plaques.
The findings appeared in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
“Recent advances in lipid metabolism have identified miR-33 as a master switch of cholesterol transport genes, such as ATP-binding cassette transporter A1, a regulator of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol,” Regulus said. “Inhibition of miR-33 results in increased ABCA1 expression and elevations in HDL-C, suggesting that miR-33 antagonism may be atheroprotective.”
In the paper, researchers from Regulus and NYU Langone Medical Center found that treating mice with a miR-33 antagonist increased HDL-C, enhanced reverse cholesterol transport to the plasma, liver, and feces, and reduced plaque size and lipid content.
“The data establish miR-33 as an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of atherosclerotic disease,” Kathryn Moore, an NYU Langone researcher and senior author of the paper, said in a statement.