The RAPID (NCT00261833; N=180) and RAPID Extension (NCT00670007; N=140) trials demonstrated significantly reduced lung density decline in patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) receiving alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (A1PI) versus placebo. Desmosine and isodesmosine (DES/IDES) are unique crosslinkers of mature elastin fibers and are utilized as measures of elastin degradation. The aim of this post-hoc study was to determine the effect of A1PI therapy on DES/IDES levels in patients from RAPID/RAPID Extension. Plasma levels of DES/IDES were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Correlation between changes in DES/IDES levels and computed tomography (CT) lung density decline was assessed. Analysis showed that DES/IDES levels were significantly reduced versus baseline in patients receiving A1PI at all time points, from month 3 through month 48. A significant increase from baseline in DES/IDES was observed with placebo at month 24 (n=54; 0.016; p=0.018). DES/IDES change from baseline was significantly different with A1PI versus placebo at months 3 (-0.021; 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.037, 0.004; p=0.026), 12 (-0.040; 95% CI -0.055, 0.025; p<0.001), and 24 (-0.052; 95% CI -0.070, 0.034; p<0.001). Placebo patients started A1PI therapy at month 24 and showed significant reductions in plasma DES/IDES at months 36 (p<0.001) and 48 (p<0.001). Reduced elastin degradation was associated with slower lung density decline (p=0.005), correlating a chemical index of therapy with an anatomical index by CT. In conclusion, A1PI therapy reduced elastin degradation, including pulmonary elastin, in patients with AATD. These data support using DES/IDES levels as biomarkers to monitor emphysema progression and treatment response.
Keywords: alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency; desmosine; elastin biomarkers; isodesmosine; lung density.