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Factor XII full and partial null in rat confers robust antithrombotic efficacy with no bleeding

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This report aims at exploring quantitatively the relationship between FXII inhibition and thromboprotection. FXII full and partial null in rats were established via zinc finger nuclease-mediated knockout and siRNA-mediated knockdown, respectively. The rats were subsequently characterized in thrombosis and hemostasis models. Knockout rats exhibited complete thromboprotection in both the arteriovenous shunt model (∼100% clot weight reduction) and the FeCl3-induced arterial thrombosis model (no reduction in blood flow), without any increase in cuticle bleeding time compared with wild-type control rats. Ex-vivo aPTT and the ellagic acid-triggered thrombin generation assay (TGA) exhibited anticoagulant changes. In contrast, ex-vivo PT or high tissue factor-triggered TGA was indistinguishable from control. Rats receiving single doses (0, 0.01, 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1 mg/kg) of FXII siRNA exhibited dose-dependent knockdown in liver FXII mRNA and plasma FXII protein (95 and 99%, respectively, at 1 mg/kg) at day 7 post dosing. FXII knockdown was associated with dose-dependent thromboprotection (maximal efficacy achieved with 1 mg/kg in both models) and negligible change in cuticle bleeding times. Ex-vivo TGA triggered with low-level (0.5 μmol/l) ellagic acid tracked best with the knockdown levels and efficacy. Our findings confirm and extend literature reports of an attractive benefit-to-risk profile of targeting FXII for antithrombotic therapies. Titrating of FXII is instructive for its pharmacological inhibition. The knockout rat is valuable for evaluating both mechanism-based safety concerns and off-target effects of FXII(a) inhibitors. Detailed TGA analyses will inform on optimal trigger conditions in studying pharmacodynamic effects of FXII(a) inhibition.
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Keywords: factor XII; hemostasis; knockdown; knockout; rat; thrombosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: In Vivo Pharmacology 2: Cardiometabolic Diseases 3: Genetically Engineered Models, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Kenilworth, New Jersey 4: RNA Therapeutics; Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., West Point, Pennsylvania, USA 5: Cardiometabolic Diseases, Current affiliation: Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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