Yang J, Wang Y, Zhou T et al.
The Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; Hong Kong-Guangdong Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong and Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Stem cell reports. Feb 2017.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) causes elevation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in blood and carries an increased risk of early-onset cardiovascular disease. A caveat for exploration of new therapies for FH is the lack of adequate experimental models. We have created a comprehensive FH stem cell model with differentiated hepatocytes (iHeps) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), including genetically engineered iPSCs, for testing therapies for FH. We used FH iHeps to assess the effect of simvastatin and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) antibodies on LDL-C uptake and cholesterol lowering in vitro. In addition, we engrafted FH iHeps into the liver of Ldlr(-/-)/Rag2(-/-)/Il2rg(-/-) mice, and assessed the effect of these same medications on LDL-C clearance and endothelium-dependent vasodilation in vivo. Our iHep models recapitulate clinical observations of higher potency of PCSK9 antibodies compared with statins for reversing the consequences of FH, demonstrating the utility for preclinical testing of new therapies for FH patients.