Synthetic high-density lipoprotein nanoparticles for the treatment of Niemann-Pick diseases

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Background: Niemann-Pick disease type C is a fatal and progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of unesterified cholesterol in late endosomes and lysosomes. We sought to develop new therapeutics for this disorder by harnessing the body's endogenous cholesterol scavenging particle, high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Methods: Here we design, optimize, and define the mechanism of action of synthetic HDL (sHDL) nanoparticles. Results: We demonstrate a dose-dependent rescue of cholesterol storage that is sensitive to sHDL lipid and peptide composition, enabling the identification of compounds with a range of therapeutic potency. Peripheral administration of sHDL to Npc1 I1061T homozygous mice mobilizes cholesterol, reduces serum bilirubin, reduces liver macrophage size, and corrects body weight deficits. Additionally, a single intraventricular injection into adult Npc1 I1061T brains significantly reduces cholesterol storage in Purkinje neurons. Since endogenous HDL is also a carrier of sphingomyelin, we tested the same sHDL formulation in the sphingomyelin storage disease Niemann-Pick type A. Utilizing stimulated Raman scattering microscopy to detect endogenous unlabeled lipids, we show significant rescue of Niemann-Pick type A lipid storage. Conclusions: Together, our data establish that sHDL nanoparticles are a potential new therapeutic avenue for Niemann-Pick diseases.




Schultz, M. L., Fawaz, M. V., Azaria, R. D., Hollon, T. C., Liu, E. A., Kunkel, T. J., … Lieberman, A. P. (2019). Synthetic high-density lipoprotein nanoparticles for the treatment of Niemann-Pick diseases. BMC Medicine, 17(1).

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