Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a genetic disorder mostly caused by mutations in the C1 esterase inhibitor gene (C1INH) that results in poor control of contact pathway activation and excess bradykinin generation. Bradykinin increases vascular permeability and is ultimately responsible for the episodes of swelling characteristic of HAE. We hypothesized that the use of RNA interference (RNAi) to reduce plasma Factor XII (FXII), which initiates the contact pathway signaling cascade, would reduce contact pathway activation and prevent excessive bradykinin generation. A subcutaneously administered GalNAc-conjugated small-interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting F12 mRNA (ALN-F12) was developed, and potency was evaluated in mice, rats, and cynomolgus monkeys. The effect of FXII reduction by ALN-F12 administration was evaluated in two different vascular leakage mouse models. An ex vivo assay was developed to evaluate the correlation between human plasma FXII levels and high-molecular weight kininogen (HK) cleavage. A single subcutaneous dose of ALN-F12 led to potent, dose-dependent reduction of plasma FXII in mice, rats, and NHP. In cynomolgus monkeys, a single subcutaneous dose of ALN-F12 at 3 mg/kg resulted in >85% reduction of plasma FXII. Administration of ALN-F12 resulted in dose-dependent reduction of vascular permeability in two different mouse models of bradykinin-driven vascular leakage, demonstrating that RNAi-mediated reduction of FXII can potentially mitigate excess bradykinin stimulation. Lastly, ex vivo human plasma HK cleavage assay indicated FXII-dependent bradykinin generation. Together, these data suggest that RNAi-mediated knockdown of FXII by ALN-F12 is a potentially promising approach for the prophylactic treatment of HAE.
Keywords: Factor XII; GalNAc-siRNA; HK cleavage; bradykinin; hereditary angioedema; vascular permeability.
© 2019 Liu et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.