Increased levels of fetal hemoglobin are associated with decreased symptoms and increased lifespan in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Hydroxyurea, the only drug currently approved for SCD, is not effective in a large fraction of patients, and therefore, new agents are urgently needed. Recently it was found that lysine demethylase 1, an enzyme that removes monomethyl and dimethyl residues from the lysine 4 residue of histone H3, is a repressor of γ-globin gene expression. In this article, we have compared the ability of tranylcypromine (TCP) and a more potent TCP derivative, RN-1, to increase γ-globin expression in cultured baboon erythroid progenitor cells and in the SCD mouse model. The results indicate that the ability of RN-1 to induce F cells and γ-globin mRNA in SCD mice is similar to that of decitabine, the most powerful fetal hemoglobin-inducing drug known, and greater than that of either TCP or hydroxyurea. We conclude that RN-1 and other lysine demethylase 1 inhibitors may be promising new γ-globin-inducing agents for the treatment of SCD that warrant further studies in other preclinical models, such as nonhuman primates.
Rivers, A., Vaitkus, K., Ruiz, M. A., Ibanez, V., Jagadeeswaran, R., Kouznetsova, T., … Lavelle, D. (2015). RN-1, a potent and selective lysine-specific demethylase 1 inhibitor, increases γ-globin expression, F reticulocytes, and F cells in a sickle cell disease mouse model. Experimental Hematology, 43(7), 546-553.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exphem.2015.04.005