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New Data Support Safety Profiles of PCSK9 Inhibitors

Cholesterol-lowering drugs targeting the gene PCSK9 do not cause heart failure or other adverse cardiac events in humans despite an association found in a recent animal study, according to a report appearing in this week's JAMA Cardiology. PSCK9 encodes a protein that helps regulate cholesterol levels in the blood and has become a promising therapeutic target for hypercholesterolemia. While therapies that block PCSK9 expression have shown favorable safety profiles, a recent study in mice showed that PCSK9 deficiency caused cardiac remodeling and heart failure. To see if this effect translates to humans, researchers from the University of Copenhagen analyzed data from around 35,000 individuals within the UK Biobank, using genotyping and exome-sequencing data, common variants, and loss-of-function variants as proxies of PCSK9 inhibition. By combining the genetic data with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging data, the scientists determined that there are no associations between PCSK9 genetic variants and altered cardiac structure, cardiac function, or heart failure in humans. The results, they write, are "in line with safety data from the shorter-term trials that indicate that a partial to complete reduction of the PCSK9 protein in humans is unlikely to result in the severe phenotypes observed in model organisms.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.