ETC-1002 is an investigational drug currently in Phase 2 development for treatment of dyslipidemia and other cardiometabolic risk factors. In dyslipidemic subjects, ETC-1002 not only reduces plasma LDL cholesterol but also significantly attenuates levels of hsCRP, a clinical biomarker of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory properties of ETC-1002 were further investigated in primary human monocyte-derived macrophages and in in vivo models of inflammation. In cells treated with ETC-1002, increased levels of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation coincided with reduced activity of MAP kinases and decreased production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. AMPK phosphorylation and inhibitory effects of ETC-1002 on soluble mediators of inflammation were significantly abrogated by siRNA-mediated silencing of macrophage liver kinase B1 (LKB1), indicating that ETC-1002 activates AMPK and exerts its anti-inflammatory effects via an LKB1-dependent mechanism. In vivo, ETC-1002 suppressed thioglycollate-induced homing of leukocytes into mouse peritoneal cavity. Similarly, in a mouse model of diet-induced obesity, ETC-1002 restored adipose AMPK activity, reduced JNK phosphorylation, and diminished expression of macrophage-specific marker 4F/80. These data were consistent with decreased epididymal fat-pad mass and interleukin (IL)-6 release by inflamed adipose tissue. Thus, ETC-1002 may provide further clinical benefits for patients with cardiometabolic risk factors by reducing systemic inflammation linked to insulin resistance and vascular complications of metabolic syndrome.
Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase; adipose tissue; cardiometabolic risk factors; cytokines; drug therapy; hypolipidemic drugs; liver kinase B1; macrophages/monocytes; mitogen-activated protein kinases.