Assessment of the Effects of 2'-Methoxyethyl Antisense Oligonucleotides on Platelet Count in Cynomolgus Nonhuman Primates

Nucleic Acid Ther. 2017 Aug;27(4):197-208. doi: 10.1089/nat.2017.0666. Epub 2017 May 25.


Decreases in platelet (PLT) counts observed in nonhuman primates (NHPs) given 2'-O-methoxyethyl modified antisense inhibitors (2'-MOE ASOs) have been reported, but the incidence and severity of the change vary considerably between sequences, studies, and animals. This article will broadly illustrate the spectrum of effects on PLT count in NHPs. From queries of an NHP safety database representing over 102 independent 2'-MOE ASOs, from 61 studies and >2200 NHPs, two patterns of PLT changes emerged. The first is a consistent and reproducible decrease in group mean values, observed with about 30% of the compounds, in which PLT count typically remains ≥150K cells/μL. The second is a sporadic decrease in PLTs to <50K cells/μL (2%-4% incidence at doses >5 mg/kg) that is often not reproducible. In both cases, the reduction in PLT count is dose dependent and reversible. The human relevance of PLT change observed in NHPs was investigated using ISIS 404173. In a chronic NHP study (20 mg/kg/wk for 26 weeks), a gradual decrease in group mean PLT count was observed at ≥10 mg/kg/wk, which plateaued by 13 weeks generally within the normal range and was maintained through 26 weeks of treatment. However, PLT counts <50K cells/μL occurred in 1 of 16 NHP at 10 mg/kg/wk and 3 of 16 NHP at 20 mg/kg/wk. In a 26-week double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial, 62 patients were treated with 200 mg/wk ISIS 404173 (∼3.3 mg/kg/wk) there was an increased incidence of PLT count >30% decreased compared to baseline but no incidence of PLT <75K cells/μL. Based on these data, the consistent, self-limiting PLT reduction seen in NHP may translate to humans, but these changes appear to be of limited clinical significance. However, NHPs appear to overpredict the incidence of sporadic PLT <50K cells/μL compared to humans.

Keywords: antisense; nonhuman primate; oligonucleotide; platelet.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / toxicity*
  • Platelet Count


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense