IL-6 blockade by monoclonal antibodies inhibits apolipoprotein (a) expression and lipoprotein (a) synthesis in humans.

Nike Müller, Dominik M Schulte, Kathrin Türk, Sandra Freitag-Wolf, Jochen Hampe, Rainald Zeuner, Johann O Schröder, Ioanna Gouni-Berthold, Heiner K Berthold, Wilhelm Krone, Stefan Rose-John, Stefan Schreiber, Matthias Laudes
Year of publication:
Journal title abbreviated:
J. Lipid Res.
Journal title long:
Journal of lipid research
Impact factor:
Lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] is a highly atherogenic lipid particle. Although earlier reports suggested that Lp(a) levels are mostly determined by genetic factors, several recent studies have revealed that Lp(a) induction is also caused by chronic inflammation. Therefore, we aimed to examine whether cytokine blockade by monoclonal antibodies may inhibit Lp(a) metabolism. We found that interleukin 6 (IL-6) blockade by tocilizumab (TCZ) reduced Lp(a) while TNF-α-inhibition by adalimumab in humans had no effect. The specificity of IL-6 in regulating Lp(a) was further demonstrated by serological measurements of human subjects (n = 1,153) revealing that Lp(a) levels are increased in individuals with elevated serum IL-6. Transcriptomic analysis of human liver biopsies (n = 57) revealed typical IL-6 response genes being correlated with the LPA gene expression in vivo. On a molecular level, we found that TCZ inhibited IL-6-induced LPA mRNA and protein expression in human hepatocytes. Furthermore, examination of IL-6-responsive signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 binding sites within the LPA promoter by reporter gene assays, promoter deletion experiments, and electrophoretic mobility shift assay analysis showed that the Lp(a)-lowering effect of TCZ is specifically mediated via a responsive element at -46 to -40. Therefore, IL-6 blockade might be a potential therapeutic option to treat elevated Lp(a) serum concentrations in humans and might be a noninvasive alternative to lipid apheresis in the future.