Publications by authors named "Morten A Karsdal"

238 Publications

High turnover of types III and VI collagen in progressive idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Respirology 2021 Apr 9. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Herlev and Gentofte University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background And Objective: Prediction of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) progression is vital for the choice and timing of treatment and patient follow-up. This could potentially be achieved by prognostic blood biomarkers of extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling.

Methods: Neoepitope biomarkers of types III and VI collagen turnover (C3M, C6M, PRO-C3 and PRO-C6) were measured in 185 patients with newly diagnosed IPF. Disease severity at baseline and progression over 6 months was assessed by lung function tests and 6-min walk tests. All-cause mortality was assessed over a 3-year follow-up period.

Results: High baseline levels of C3M, C6M, PRO-C3 and PRO-C6 were associated with more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis. Baseline levels of C6M and PRO-C3 were also associated with mortality over 3 years of follow-up (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.3-3.9, p = 0.002 and HR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1-3.0, p = 0.03). Patients with several increased biomarkers at baseline, representing a high ECM remodelling phenotype, had more advanced disease at baseline, higher risk of progression or death at 6 months (OR: 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1-1.8, p = 0.002) and higher mortality over 3 years of follow-up (HR: 2.4, 95% CI: 1.3-4.5, p = 0.007).

Conclusion: Blood biomarkers of types III and VI collagen turnover, assessed at the time of diagnosis, are associated with several indices of disease severity, short-term progression and long-term mortality. These biomarkers can help to identify patients with a high ECM remodelling phenotype at high risk of disease progression and death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/resp.14056DOI Listing
April 2021

Serum C-reactive protein metabolite (CRPM) is associated with incidence of contralateral knee osteoarthritis.

Sci Rep 2021 Mar 22;11(1):6583. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Immuno-Science, Nordic Bioscience, Biomarkers and Research, Herlev Hovedgade, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

The heterogeneous nature of osteoarthritis (OA) and the need to subtype patients is widely accepted in the field. The biomarker CRPM, a metabolite of C-reactive protein (CRP), is released to the circulation during inflammation. Blood CRPM levels have shown to be associated with disease activity and response to treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We investigated the level of blood CRPM in OA compared to RA using data from two phase III knee OA and two RA studies (N = 1591). Moreover, the association between CRPM levels and radiographic progression was investigated. The mean CRPM levels were significantly lower in OA (8.5 [95% CI 8.3-8.8] ng/mL, n = 781) compared to the RA patients (12.8 [9.5-16.0] ng/mL, n = 60); however, a significant subset of OA patients (31%) had CRPM levels (≥ 9 ng/mL) comparable to RA. Furthermore, OA patients (n = 152) with CRPM levels ≥ 9 ng/mL were more likely to develop contra-lateral knee OA assessed by X-ray over a two-year follow-up period with an odds ratio of 2.2 [1.0-4.7]. These data suggest that CRPM is a blood-based biochemical marker for early identification OA patients with an inflammatory phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-86064-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7985384PMC
March 2021

A low cartilage formation and repair endotype predicts radiographic progression of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

J Orthop Traumatol 2021 Mar 9;22(1):10. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Rheumatology, Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade 207, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease with multiple endotypes. A hallmark of OA is loss of cartilage; however, it is evident that the rate of cartilage loss differs among patients, which may partly be attributed to differential capacity for cartilage repair. We hypothesize that a low cartilage repair endotype exists and that such endotypes are more likely to progress radiographically. The aim of this study is to examine the associations of level of cartilage formation with OA severity and radiographic OA progression. We used the blood-based marker PRO-C2, reflecting type II collagen formation, to assess levels of cartilage formation.

Materials And Methods: The type II collagen propeptide PRO-C2 was measured in the serum/plasma of knee OA subjects from New York University (NYU, n = 106) and a subcohort of the phase III oral salmon calcitonin (sCT) trial SMC021-2301 (SMC, n = 147). Risk of radiographic medial joint space narrowing (JSN) over 24 months was compared between quartiles (very low, low, moderate, and high) of PRO-C2. Associations were adjusted for age, gender, BMI, race, baseline pain levels, and baseline joint space width.

Results: In both the NYU and SMC cohorts, subjects with low PRO-C2 levels had greater JSN compared with subjects with high PRO-C2. Mean difference in JSN between subjects with very low and high levels of PRO-C2 was 0.65 mm (p = 0.002), corresponding to a 3.4 (1.4-8.6)-fold higher risk of progression. There was no significant effect of sCT treatment, compared with placebo, on JSN over 2 years before stratification based on baseline PRO-C2. However, there were proportionately fewer progressors in the sCT arm of the very low/low PRO-C2 group compared with the moderate/high group (Chi squared = 6.5, p = 0.011).

Conclusion: Serum/plasma level of type II collagen formation, PRO-C2, may be an objective indicator of a low cartilage repair endotype, displaying radiographic progression and superior response to a proanabolic drug.

Level Of Evidence: Level III post hoc exploratory analysis of one longitudinal cohort and a sub-study from one phase III clinical trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s10195-021-00572-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7943687PMC
March 2021

Imbalanced turnover of collagen type III is associated with disease progression and mortality in high-risk chronic kidney disease patients.

Clin Kidney J 2021 Feb 14;14(2):593-601. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Background: Tubulointerstitial fibrosis is a major pathological feature in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and collagen type III (COL3) is a major component of the renal fibrotic scar. We hypothesized that a dysregulated turnover of COL3 is an important determinant of CKD progression. We assessed the relationship between fragments reflecting active formation (PRO-C3) and degradation (C3M) of COL3 and CKD disease progression and mortality in a prospective cohort of CKD patients.

Methods: We measured PRO-C3 and C3M in urine (uPRO-C3 and uC3M) and serum (sPRO-C3 and sC3M) of 500 patients from the Renal Impairment in Secondary Care study. Disease progression was defined as a decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate >30% or the start of renal replacement therapy within 12 and 30 months.

Results: Levels of uC3M/creatinine decreased, whereas levels of uPRO-C3/creatinine and sPRO-C3 increased with increasing CKD stage. uC3M/creatinine was inversely and independently associated with disease progression by 12 months {odds ratio [OR] 0.39 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18-0.83]; P = 0.01 per doubling of uC3M/creatinine} with development of end-stage renal disease [hazard ratio (HR) 0.70 (95% CI 0.50-0.97); P = 0.03 per doubling of uC3M/creatinine]. sPRO-C3 at baseline was independently associated with increased mortality [HR 1.93 (95% CI 1.21-3.1); P = 0.006 per doubling of sPRO-C3] and disease progression by 30 months [OR 2.16 (95% CI 1.21-3.84); P = 0.009 per doubling of sPRO-C3].

Conclusions: Dynamic products of COL3 formation and degradation were independently associated with CKD progression and mortality and may represent an opportunity to link pathological processes with targeted treatments against fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ckj/sfz174DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7886548PMC
February 2021

Systemic vascular basement membrane markers linked to synovial vascular remodeling are biomarkers of hemarthrosis in patients with hemophilia.

J Thromb Haemost 2021 May 22;19(5):1200-1211. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.

Introduction: Interstitial, cartilage, and bone collagens have been proposed as biomarkers of joint deterioration in hemophilic arthropathy. The role of basement membrane (type IV and VIII) collagens as biomarkers of endothelial turnover in relation to acute joint bleeding is not understood.

Methods: Thirty-one adult patients with hemophilia were studied prospectively for 3 years with musculoskeletal ultrasound/power Doppler (MSKUS/PD) during pain-free intervals and painful events for joint bleed status, synovial vascular flow, and 10 plasma markers of collagen turnover. Joint health was determined using Hemophilia Joint Health Scores and Pettersson scores. In animal studies, bleeding was induced in factor VIII-/- mice by knee joint injury. Synovial vascular remodeling was assessed using MSKUS/PD and histology. Murine plasma samples were analyzed for type IV collagen turnover markers.

Results: Ninety-one patient visits were compiled. Twenty-five were due to acute painful episodes, with 16 confirmed hemarthroses. Type IV collagen turnover markers (PRO-C4 and C4M), and a type VIII collagen synthesis marker (PRO-C8), were transiently elevated during acute hemarthrosis. Hemarthrosis was accompanied by increased synovial microvascular flow (MSKUS/PD), and levels of type IV collagen markers correlated with PD signals in the joint. In factor VIII-deficient mice, plasma levels of type IV collagen turnover markers correlated negatively with synovial αSMA staining, indicating that reduced type IV collagen turnover was associated with thicker vessels.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that basement membrane turnover markers, closely linked to synovial vascular remodeling, may be systemic biomarkers of acute hemarthrosis. Vascular instability during neovascularization may be involved in the dynamics of hemarthrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.15268DOI Listing
May 2021

Exploring IL-17 in spondyloarthritis for development of novel treatments and biomarkers.

Autoimmun Rev 2021 Mar 22;20(3):102760. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Immunoscience, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark; Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.

Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is an umbrella term describing a family of chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases. These diseases are characterised by inflammation of the axial skeleton, peripheral joints, and entheseal insertion sites throughout the body which can lead to structural joint damage including formation of axial syndesmophytes and peripheral osteophytes. Genetic evidence, preclinical and clinical studies indicate a clear role of interleukin (IL)- 23 and IL-17 as mediators in SpA pathogenesis. Targeting the IL-23/-17 pathways seems an efficient strategy for treatment of SpA patients, and despite the remaining challenges the pathway holds great promise for further advances and improved therapeutic opportunities. Much research is focusing on serological markers and imaging strategies to correctly diagnose patients in the early stages of SpA. Biomarkers may facilitate personalised medicine tailored to each patient's specific disease to optimise treatment efficacy and to monitor therapeutic response. This narrative review focuses on the IL-17 pathway in SpA-related diseases with emphasis on its role in pathogenesis, current approved IL-17 inhibitors, and the need for biomarkers reflecting core disease pathways for early diagnosis and measurement of disease activity, prognosis, and response to therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2021.102760DOI Listing
March 2021

Blood-based extracellular matrix biomarkers as predictors of survival in patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma receiving pegvorhyaluronidase alfa.

J Transl Med 2021 01 21;19(1):39. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev Hovedgade 207, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Extensive extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling is a hallmark of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDA). We investigated fragments of collagen types III (C3M, PRO-C3), VI (PRO-C6), and VIII (C8-C), and versican (VCANM) in plasma as biomarkers for predicting progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with mPDA treated with pegvorhyaluronidase alfa, a biologic that degrades the ECM component hyaluronan (HA), in a randomized phase 2 study (HALO109-202).

Methods: HALO109-202 comprised a discovery cohort (Stage 1, n = 94) and a validation cohort (Stage 2, n = 95). Plasma ECM biomarkers were analyzed by ELISAs. Univariate Cox regression analysis and Kaplan-Meier plots evaluated predictive associations between biomarkers, PFS and OS in patients treated with pegvorhyaluronidase alfa plus nab-paclitaxel/gemcitabine (PAG) versus nab-paclitaxel/gemcitabine (AG) alone.

Results: PFS was improved with PAG vs. AG in Stage 1 patients with high C3M/PRO-C3 ratio (median cut-off): median PFS (mPFS) 8.0 vs. 5.3 months, P = 0.031; HR = 0.40; 95% CI 0.17-0.92). High C3M/PRO-C3 ratio was validated in Stage 2 patients by predicting a PFS benefit of PAG vs. AG (mPFS: 8.8 vs. 3.4 months, P = 0.046; HR = 0.46; 95% CI 0.21-0.98). OS was also improved in patients with high C3M/PRO-C3 ratio treated with PAG vs. AG (mOS 13.8 vs 8.5 months, P = 0.009; HR = 0.35; 95% CI 0.16-0.77). Interestingly, high C3M/PRO-C3 ratio predicted for a PFS benefit to PAG vs. AG both in patients with HA-low tumors (HR = 0.36; 95% CI 0.17-0.79) and HA-high tumors (HR = 0.20; 95% CI 0.06-0.69).

Conclusions: The C3M/PRO-C3 ratio measuring type III collagen turnover in plasma has potential as a blood-based predictive biomarker in patients with mPDA and provides additional value to a HA biopsy when applied for patient selection.

Trial Registration: NCT01839487. Registered 25 April 2016.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02701-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7819178PMC
January 2021

Connective tissue remodelling is differently modulated by tocilizumab versus methotrexate monotherapy in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis: the AMBITION study.

Arthritis Res Ther 2021 01 7;23(1):13. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

ImmunoScience, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade 207, DK-2730, Herlev, Denmark.

Objective: Associations between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and effect of treatment at the tissue levels are poorly understood. We investigated the scope of released extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolites as a consequence of tissue remodelling in patients treated with methotrexate (MTX) and tocilizumab (TCZ) compared to placebo.

Methods: Tissue metabolites from 387 RA patients treated with either TCZ (8 mg/kg) or MTX monotherapy (7.5-20 mg/kg) were measured at baseline and 8 weeks sera by validated ELISA assays. The levels of collagen biomarkers (C1M, C2M, C3M and C4M) together with C-reactive protein (CRP) and CRP metabolite (CRPM) were investigated. Baseline levels of biomarkers have been compared with 72 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Comparison between treatment and response groups were done by ANCOVA, Spearman's correlation and logistic regression adjusted for age, gender, BMI and disease duration.

Results: C1M and C3M were significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited by TCZ and C3M by MTX (P < 0.01) compared to placebo. C1M and C3M inhibition with TCZ was respectively 23% and 16% greater than that of MTX (P < 0.01 and P < 0.0001). C4M was inhibited by TCZ and MTX, but the effect of TCZ was 22% greater than MTX (P < 0.0001). TCZ and MTX had minimal effect on C2M levels. MTX had no effect on CRP and CRPM, whereas TCZ reduced their levels to 69% and 27% from baseline. Investigated biomarkers revealed a significant (P < 0.05) difference in biomarker profiles of MTX ACR50 treatment responders and non-responders. Change to week 8 in levels of C3M, C4M, CRP and CRPM in MTX patients correlated significantly (rho = 0.41 to 0.18, P < 0.0001 to 0.039) with change in disease activity (DAS28) at weeks 8, 16 and 24, whereas only CRP in TCZ patients (rho = 0.32 to 0.21, P < 0.0001 to 0.01).

Conclusion: Patients receiving TCZ treatment for 8 weeks had higher suppression of tissue remodelling and inflammatory biomarkers over patients treated with MTX. Measured biomarkers enabled for a discrimination of biomarker profiles of ACR50 treatment responding patients and identification of those who benefit at the early time point. Week 8 change in levels of C3M, C4M, CRP and CRPM significantly predicted clinical response to treatment and correlated with DAS28 at all time points.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00109408 . Date of registration: July 2005. Name of the registry: A Study to Assess the Safety and Efficacy of Tocilizumab in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13075-020-02378-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7789531PMC
January 2021

Treatment with a dual amylin and calcitonin receptor agonist improves metabolic health in an old, obese, and ovariectomized rat model.

Menopause 2021 01 4;28(4):423-430. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark.

Objectives: Menopause is often characterized by detrimental metabolic changes, such as obesity, insulin resistance, and impaired glucose tolerance, often requiring treatment. KeyBioscience Peptides (KBPs) are Dual Amylin and Calcitonin Receptor Agonists which have shown promising metabolic effects in rats. The objective of this study was to investigate the in vivo effect of KBP on the metabolic health in a model driven by unhealthy diet, age, and menopause.

Methods: Female Sprague Dawley rats were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 3 months before the initiation of the study. At 6 months of age the rats were randomized into groups (n = 12) and subjected to ovariectomy surgery and treatment with KBP: (1) Lean-Sham, (2) HFD-Sham, (3) Lean-OVX, (4) HFD-OVX, (5) HFD-OVX-KBP (10 μg/kg/d), (6) HFD-OVX-KBP (20 μg/kg/d), (7) HFD-OVX-EE2 (30 μg/d 17a-ethynylestradiol). Body weight, food intake, oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs), subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, liver weight, and uterus weight were assessed during the 6-month study. Statistical analyses were conducted by one-way ANOVA with Tukey post-hoc test for multiple comparisons.

Results: Combination of OVX and HFD led to significant induction of obesity (31% weight increase, P < 0.001) and insulin resistance (13% increase in tAUCglucose during OGTT P < 0.01) compared with the relevant control groups (P < 0.05), and this could be completely rescued by EE2 therapy confirming the model system (P < 0.05).Treatment of OVX-HFD rats with KBP for 26 weeks led to a significant reduction in body weight (13%, P < 0.001) in the high dose and 9% (P < 0.01) in the low dose, with corresponding improvements in fat depot sizes, all compared with HFD-OVX controls. As expected, food intake was suppressed, albeit mainly in the first 2 weeks of treatment, resulting in a reduction of overall caloric intake by 6.5% (P < 0.01) and 12.5% (P < 0.001) in the low and high doses respectively. Furthermore, treatment with KBP reduced the weight of visceral and subcutaneous fat tissues. Finally, KBP treatment significantly improved glucose tolerance, assessed using OGTTs at weeks 8, 16, and 24.

Conclusions: The data presented here clearly indicate a positive and sustained effect of KBP treatment on body weight loss, fat depot size, and improved glucose tolerance, illustrating the potential of KBPs as treatments for metabolic complications of overweight and menopause.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000001722DOI Listing
January 2021

Bone phenotypes in rheumatology - there is more to bone than just bone.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2020 Nov 28;21(1):789. Epub 2020 Nov 28.

Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade, 205-207, Herlev, Denmark.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, all have one clear common denominator; an altered turnover of bone. However, this may be more complex than a simple change in bone matrix and mineral turnover. While these diseases share a common tissue axis, their manifestations in the area of pathology are highly diverse, ranging from sclerosis to erosion of bone in different regions. The management of these diseases will benefit from a deeper understanding of the local versus systemic effects, the relation to the equilibrium of the bone balance (i.e., bone formation versus bone resorption), and the physiological and pathophysiological phenotypes of the cells involved (e.g., osteoblasts, osteoclasts, osteocytes and chondrocytes). For example, the process of endochondral bone formation in chondrocytes occurs exists during skeletal development and healthy conditions, but also in pathological conditions. This review focuses on the complex molecular and cellular taxonomy of bone in the context of rheumatological diseases that alter bone matrix composition and maintenance, giving rise to different bone turnover phenotypes, and how biomarkers (biochemical markers) can be applied to potentially describe specific bone phenotypic tissue profiles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-020-03804-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7700716PMC
November 2020

Mono and dual agonists of the amylin, calcitonin, and CGRP receptors and their potential in metabolic diseases.

Mol Metab 2021 Apr 7;46:101109. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Nordic Bioscience Biomarkers and Research, Herlev, Denmark; KeyBioscience AG, Stans, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Background: Therapies for metabolic diseases are numerous, yet improving insulin sensitivity beyond that induced by weight loss remains challenging. Therefore, search continues for novel treatment candidates that can stimulate insulin sensitivity and increase weight loss efficacy in combination with current treatment options. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and amylin belong to the same peptide family and have been explored as treatments for metabolic diseases. However, their full potential remains controversial.

Scope Of Review: In this article, we introduce this rather complex peptide family and its corresponding receptors. We discuss the physiology of the peptides with a focus on metabolism and insulin sensitivity. We also thoroughly review the pharmacological potential of amylin, calcitonin, CGRP, and peptide derivatives as treatments for metabolic diseases, emphasizing their ability to increase insulin sensitivity based on preclinical and clinical studies.

Major Conclusions: Amylin receptor agonists and dual amylin and calcitonin receptor agonists are relevant treatment candidates, especially because they increase insulin sensitivity while also assisting weight loss, and their unique mode of action complements incretin-based therapies. However, CGRP and its derivatives seem to have only modest if any metabolic effects and are no longer of interest as therapies for metabolic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2020.101109DOI Listing
April 2021

Collagen remodelling and plasma ascorbic acid levels in patients suspected of inherited bleeding disorders harbouring germline variants in collagen-related genes.

Haemophilia 2021 Jan 7;27(1):e69-e77. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Department of Hematology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Introduction: Variants in collagen-related genes COL1A1, COL3A1, COL5A1 and COL5A2 are associated with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a heterogeneous group of connective tissue disorders strongly associated with increased bleeding. Of patients with incompletely explained bleeding diathesis, a relatively high proportion were shown to harbour at least one heterozygous variant of unknown significance (VUS) in one of these genes, the vast majority without meeting the clinical criteria for EDS.

Aim: To investigate the functional consequences of the identified variants by assessing the formation and degradation of types I, III and V collagen, in addition to plasma levels of ascorbic acid (AA).

Methods: A total of 31 patients harbouring at least one heterozygous VUS in COL1A1, COL3A1, COL5A1 or COL5A2 and 20 healthy controls were assessed using monoclonal antibodies targeting neo-epitopes specific for collagen formation and degradation. Plasma AA levels were measured in patients using high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results: Serum levels of C5 M (degradation of type V collagen) were decreased in patients compared with healthy controls (p = .033). No significant differences were found in biomarkers for remodelling of types I and III collagen. A significant negative correlation between bleeding (ISTH-BAT score) and plasma AA levels was shown (r = -.42; r  = .17; p = .020). Suboptimal or marginally deficient AA status was found in 8/31 patients (26%).

Conclusion: Functional investigations of collagen remodelling were not able to identify any clear associations between the identified variants and increased bleeding. The negative correlation between plasma AA levels and ISTH-BAT score motivates further investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hae.14195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7894344PMC
January 2021

Widespread disturbance in extracellular matrix collagen biomarker responses to teriparatide therapy in osteogenesis imperfecta.

Bone 2021 Jan 21;142:115703. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Department of Medicine, Bone and Mineral Unit, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States of America.

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a heritable disorder caused by abnormalities in synthesis or processing of type I collagen, is characterized by skeletal fragility. Type I collagen interacts with multiple components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) including other collagens types. Thus, alterations in structure or quantity may broadly affect ECM homeostasis. In fact, while OI is clinically categorized by severity of bone disease, patients can also present with extra-skeletal manifestations, including the pulmonary, muscle and cardiovascular systems. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is a regulator of skeletal homeostasis but the receptor for PTH/PTH1R is expressed in a variety of other tissues. Given interactions between type I collagen with other collagens in the ECM and the potential for PTH action on tissues beyond the skeleton, we explored whether serum levels of non-type I collagens are altered in response to teriparatide (human parathyroid hormone 1-34). We measured biomarkers of collagens II, III, IV, V, and VI in serum from individuals with type I and types III/IV OI in response to an 18 month course of teriparatide or placebo. These results were compared to similar biomarker measures in postmenopausal (PM) women without OI treated with teriparatide. In type I OI, teriparatide therapy increased concentrations of biomarkers of collagens II, III, IV, V, and VI. In individuals with types III/IV OI these biomarker changes in response to teriparatide were blunted, as we previously reported with collagen I biomarkers during teriparatide therapy. In contrast to OI, in PM women there were no effects of teriparatide on the collagen biomarkers we assessed (II, V, and VI). These findings suggest that in OI teriparatide therapy has abnormal effects on the homeostasis of many ECM collagens likely derived from skeletal as well as extra-skeletal tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2020.115703DOI Listing
January 2021

Serological Biomarkers of Tissue Turnover Identify Responders to Anti-TNF Therapy in Crohn's Disease: A Pilot Study.

Clin Transl Gastroenterol 2020 09;11(9):e00217

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Introduction: Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy is effective in inducing remission in Crohn's disease in 60% of patients. No serological biomarkers are available, which can predict response to anti-TNF. We aimed to investigate serological markers of collagen turnover reflecting tissue inflammation as predictors of response to anti-TNF.

Methods: In 2 retrospective observational cohorts, markers for matrix metalloproteinase-degraded type III and IV collagens (C3M and C4M, respectively) and for formation of type III and IV collagens (PRO-C3 and PRO-C4, respectively) were measured in serum and compared with standard C-reactive protein in patients with active Crohn's disease who started infliximab (IFX, n = 21) or adalimumab (ADA, n = 21). Disease activity was classified by the Harvey-Bradshaw index (active disease ≥5); response was defined as clinical remission.

Results: Seventeen patients (81%) treated with IFX were in remission at week 14; 15 patients (71%) treated with ADA were in remission at week 8. Serum C4M at baseline was increased in nonresponders compared with responders (IFX: 35.0 ± 2.4 vs 23.2 ± 2.6, P = 0.04, ADA: 53.0 ± 3.2 vs 34.1 ± 2.8, P = 0.006). C4M levels at baseline predicted response in both cohorts (IFX: odds ratio 39 [95% confidence interval, 2.4-523.9] P = 0.02, cutoff 35.2 nmol/L; ADA: odds ratio 26 [95% confidence interval, 1.8-332.5], P = 0.01, cutoff 46.9 nmol/L). C-reactive protein was not able to predict response to anti-TNF.

Discussion: Response to anti-TNF therapy within the first 14 weeks of treatment can be predicted based on baseline levels of basement membrane marker C4M. This marker could be used as biomarker for response to anti-TNF and could aid in early therapy decision making. Validation in larger well-defined cohorts is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14309/ctg.0000000000000217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7494148PMC
September 2020

The Janus kinase 1/2 inhibitor baricitinib reduces biomarkers of joint destruction in moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis Res Ther 2020 10 12;22(1):235. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Background: Tissue released blood-based biomarkers can provide insight into drug mode of action and response. To understand the changes in extracellular matrix turnover, we analyzed biomarkers associated with joint tissue turnover from a phase 3, randomized, placebo-controlled study of baricitinib in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Serum biomarkers associated with synovial inflammation (C1M, C3M, and C4M), cartilage degradation (C2M), bone resorption (CTX-I), and bone formation (osteocalcin) were analyzed at baseline, and weeks 4 and 12, from a subgroup of patients (n = 240) randomized to placebo or 2-mg or 4-mg baricitinib (RA-BUILD, NCT01721057). Mixed-model repeated measure was used to identify biomarkers altered by baricitinib. The relationship between changes in biomarkers and clinical measures was evaluated using correlation analysis.

Results: Treatment arms were well balanced for baseline biomarkers, demographics, and disease activity. At week 4, baricitinib 4-mg significantly reduced C1M from baseline by 21% compared to placebo (p < 0.01); suppression was sustained at week 12 (27%, p < 0.001). Baricitinib 4-mg reduced C3M and C4M at week 4 by 14% and 12% compared to placebo, respectively (p < 0.001); they remained reduced by 16% and 11% at week 12 (p < 0.001). In a pooled analysis including all treatment arms, patients with the largest reduction (upper 25% quartile) in C1M, C3M, and C4M by week 12 had significantly greater clinical improvement in the Simplified Disease Activity Index at week 12 compared to patients with the smallest reduction (lowest 25% quartile).

Conclusion: Baricitinib treatment resulted in reduced circulating biomarkers associated with joint tissue destruction as well as concomitant RA clinical improvement.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01721057 ; date of registration: November 1, 2012.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13075-020-02340-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7552555PMC
October 2020

Combining biomarkers of clot resolution and alveolar basement membrane destruction predicts mortality in the ECLIPSE COPD cohort.

Respir Med 2020 11 2;173:106185. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by abnormal epithelial repair resulting in a hypercoagulable state with intra-alveolar accumulation of fibrin and alveolar basement membrane destruction. This study aimed to investigate if the combination of two serological biomarkers evaluating these pathological processes could improve the prediction of mortality risk compared to single biomarkers.

Methods: Matrix metalloproteinase-mediated degradation of the type IV collagen α3 chain (C4Ma3), located in the alveolar basement membrane, and plasmin-mediated degradation of crosslinked fibrin (X-FIB), an end-product of fibrinogen, were assessed serologically in a subset of the ECLIPSE cohort (n = 982). Biomarker data were dichotomized into high versus low at the median. Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier curves were used to analyze the predictive value of having one or two high biomarkers for all-cause mortality over two years.

Results: COPD participants with high levels of two biomarkers were at significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality with a hazard ratio of 7.66 (95% CI 1.75-33.48; p = 0.007) while participants with one high biomarker were not at significantly higher risk (HR 3.79 [95% CI 0.85-16.94]; p = 0.08).

Conclusions: A combination of serological biomarkers of alveolar basement membrane destruction and clot resolution was predictive of all-cause mortality in COPD. The combination of two different pathological aspects may strengthen prognostic accuracy and could be used in conjunction with clinical assessment to guide treatment decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rmed.2020.106185DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530580PMC
November 2020

Advances in the clinical use of collagen as biomarker of liver fibrosis.

Expert Rev Mol Diagn 2020 09 24;20(9):947-969. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Institute of Molecular Pathobiochemistry, Experimental Gene Therapy and Clinical Chemistry (IFMPEGKC), RWTH University Hospital Aachen , Aachen, Germany.

Introduction: Hepatic fibrosis is the excessive synthesis and deposition of extracellular matrix including collagen in the tissue. Chronic liver insult leads to progressive parenchymal damage, portal hypertension, and cirrhosis. Determination of hepatic collagen by invasive liver biopsy is the gold standard to estimate severity and stage of fibrosis. However, this procedure is associated with pain, carries the risk of infection and bleeding, and is afflicted with a high degree of sampling error. Therefore, there is urgent need for serological collagen-derived markers to assess collagen synthesis/turnover.

Areas Covered: Biochemical properties of collagens, cellular sources of hepatic collagen synthesis, and regulatory aspects in collagen expression. Markers are discussed suitable to estimate hepatic collagen synthesis and/or turnover. Discussed studies were identified through a PubMed search done in May 2020 and the authors' topic knowledge.

Expert Opinion: Hepatic fibrosis is mainly characterized by accumulation of collagen-rich scar tissue. Although traditionally performed liver biopsy is still standard in estimating hepatic fibrosis, there is evidence that noninvasive diagnostic scores and collagen-derived neo-epitopes provide clinical useful information. These noninvasive tests are less expensive than liver biopsy, better tolerated, safer, and more acceptable to patients. Therefore, these tests will lead to dramatic changes in diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737159.2020.1814746DOI Listing
September 2020

Endotrophin, an extracellular hormone, in combination with neoepitope markers of von Willebrand factor improves prediction of mortality in the ECLIPSE COPD cohort.

Respir Res 2020 Jul 30;21(1):202. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Lung epithelial damage, activation of the wound healing cascade, and remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) play a major role in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The pro-peptide of type VI collagen has been identified as the hormone endotrophin. Endotrophin has been shown to promote fibrosis and inflammation, whereas von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a crucial part of wound healing initiation. Here, we assessed the released and activated form of VWF and endotrophin, the pro-peptide of type VI collagen, serologically to investigate their association with mortality in COPD subjects alone or in combination.

Methods: One thousand COPD patients with 3 years of clinical follow-up from the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints (ECLIPSE) cohort were included. Serum and heparin plasma were collected at 6 months and 1 year, respectively. Competitive ELISA utilizing specific monoclonal antibodies assessed endotrophin/type VI collagen formation (PRO-C6), VWF release (VWF-N), and activated VWF (VWF-A). Biomarker levels were dichotomized into high and low as defined by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves based on mortality data. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine hazard ratios for all-cause mortality for biomarkers alone or in combination.

Results: High levels of PRO-C6, VWF-A, and VWF-N have previously been shown to be individually associated with a higher risk of mortality with hazard ratios of 5.6 (95% CI 2.4-13.1), 3.7 (1.8-7.6), and 4.6 (2.2-9.6), respectively. The hazard ratios increased when combining the biomarkers: PRO-C6*VWFA 8.8 (2.8-27.7) and PRO-C6*VWFN 13.3 (5.6-32.0). Notably, PRO-C6*VWF-N increased more than 2-fold.

Conclusion: We demonstrated that by combining two pathological relevant aspects of COPD, tissue remodeling, and wound healing, the predictive value of biomarkers for mortality increased notably.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12931-020-01461-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7393910PMC
July 2020

The CNS-specific proteoglycan, brevican, and its ADAMTS4-cleaved fragment show differential serological levels in Alzheimer's disease, other types of dementia and non-demented controls: A cross-sectional study.

PLoS One 2020 19;15(6):e0234632. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Biomarkers & Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark.

Evidence indicate that the brain-specific protein, brevican, is proteolytically cleaved during neurodegeneration, hence positioning fragments of brevican as potential blood biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia. We aimed to develop two assays capable of detecting the brevican N-terminal (N-Brev) and the ADAMTS4-generated fragment (Brev-A), cleaved at Ser401, in serum and to perform a preliminary assessment of their diagnostic potential in dementias. Monoclonal antibodies against N-Brev and Brev-A were used to develop two ELISAs detecting each epitope. A comparison of brevican fragments in serum from individuals with AD (n = 28), other dementia (OD) (n = 41), and non-dementia-related memory complaints (NDCs) (n = 48) was conducted. Anti-N-Brev and anti-Brev-A antibodies selectively recognized their targets and dilution and spike recoveries were within limits of ±20%. Intra- and inter-assay CVs were below limits of 10% and 15%, respectively. For the N-Brev biomarker, serum from patients with OD showed significantly lower levels than those with AD (p = 0.05) and NDCs (p < 0.01). The opposite pattern was evident for Brev-A: serum levels in patients with OD were significantly higher than for AD (p = 0.04) and NDCs (p = 0.01). For both N-Brev and Brev-A, levels did not differ between AD and NDCs. The ratio of N-Brev/Brev-A resulted in increased significant differences between OD and AD (p < 0.01) and between OD and NDCs (p < 0.0001). The ratio discriminated between NDCs and OD (AUC: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.65-0.85, p < 0.0001) and between OD and AD (AUC: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.59-0.85, p < 0.01). In conclusion, we developed the first assays detecting the N-terminal of brevican as well as an ADAMTS4-cleaved fragment of brevican in blood. Differential levels of N-Brev and Brev-A between AD and OD allow for these biomarkers to possibly distinguish between different forms of dementias.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234632PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7304580PMC
August 2020

Supramolecularly stabilized diabetes drugs.

Nat Biomed Eng 2020 05;4(5):481-482

Nordic Bioscience Biomarkers and Research, Herlev, Denmark.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41551-020-0558-1DOI Listing
May 2020

Osteoarthritis: Current Molecular Biomarkers and the Way Forward.

Calcif Tissue Int 2020 May 4. Epub 2020 May 4.

Rheumatology, Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark.

The ultimate hope of researchers and patients is a pathway to development of treatments for osteoarthritis to modify the disease process in addition to the symptoms. However, development of disease modifying drugs requires objective endpoints such as measures of joint structure, joint tissue homeostasis and/or joint survival-measures such as provided by imaging biomarkers, molecular biomarkers and joint replacement frequency, respectively. Although biomarkers supporting investigational drug use and drug approval include surrogate endpoints that may not necessarily reflect or directly correlate with the clinical outcome of interest, a formal biomarker qualification process currently exists that is a rigorous three stage process that yields biomarker approvals (or denials) for specific contexts of use. From a cost perspective, biochemical biomarkers are the 'ones to beat'; however, even well-validated biomarkers may not cross the translation gaps for eventual use in healthcare unless they offer an advantage in terms of cost per quality adjusted life year. This review summarizes the case FOR and AGAINST biomarkers in drug development and highlights the current data for a subset of biomarkers in the osteoarthritis research field informing on cartilage homeostasis, joint inflammation and altered subchondral bone remodeling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00223-020-00701-7DOI Listing
May 2020

The Citrullinated and MMP-degraded Vimentin Biomarker (VICM) Predicts Early Response to Anti-TNFα Treatment in Crohn's Disease.

J Clin Gastroenterol 2021 Jan;55(1):59-66

Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Background: In Crohn's disease (CD), 10% to 40% of patients do not respond to anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) treatment. Currently, there are no biomarkers with adequate sensitivity to separate responders from nonresponders at an early stage.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigated whether early changes in the VICM (citrullinated and matrix metalloproteinase-degraded vimentin) biomarker were associated with response to anti-TNFα treatment in patients with CD.

Methods: Serum VICM levels were measured by ELISA in 2 independent cohorts of CD patients (n=42) treated with anti-TNFα (infliximab or adalimumab). Response was determined by achieving clinical remission (Harvey Bradshaw Index<5).

Results: Compared with baseline, VICM serum levels were reduced by anti-TNFα in the infliximab cohort (week 6 and 14) and in the adalimumab cohort (week 8). VICM was lower in the responders compared with the nonresponders [infliximab: week 6, P<0.05; area under the curve (AUC)=0.90; adalimumab: week 1, P<0.01 (AUC=0.91), and week 8, P<0.05 (AUC=0.86)], and were able to predict response to treatment after 1 week of treatment with an odds ratio of 42.5.

Conclusions: The VICM biomarker was time dependently reduced in CD patients responding to anti-TNFα treatment. We suggest that VICM may be used as a marker for monitoring early response to anti-TNFα in patients with CD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0000000000001341DOI Listing
January 2021

Increased von Willebrand Factor Processing in COPD, Reflecting Lung Epithelium Damage, Is Associated with Emphysema, Exacerbations and Elevated Mortality Risk.

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 2020 9;15:543-552. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic inflammation and lung tissue deterioration. Given the high vascularity of the lung, von Willebrand factor (VWF), a central component of wound healing initiation, has previously been assessed in COPD. VWF processing, which is crucial for regulating the primary response of wound healing, has not been assessed directly. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize wound healing initiation in COPD using dynamic VWF-processing biomarkers and to evaluate how these relate to disease severity and mortality.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of plasma samples from the ECLIPSE study collected at year 1 from moderate to very severe COPD subjects (GOLD 2-4, n=984) was performed. We applied competitive neo-epitope ELISAs specifically targeting the formation of and ADAMTS13-processed form of VWF, VWF-N and VWF-A, respectively.

Results: VWF-A and VWF-N were significantly increased (VWF-N, p=0.01; VWF-A, p=0.0001) in plasma of symptomatic (mMRC score ≥2) compared to asymptomatic/mild symptomatic COPD subjects. Increased VWF-N and VWF-A levels were specifically associated with emphysema (VWF-N, p<0.0001) or prior exacerbations (VWF-A, p=0.01). When dichotomized, high levels of both biomarkers were associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality (VWF-N, HR 3.5; VWF-A, HR 2.64).

Conclusion: We demonstrate that changes in VWF processing were related to different pathophysiological aspects of COPD. VWF-N relates to the chronic condition of emphysema, while VWF-A was associated with the more acute events of exacerbations. This study indicates that VWF-A and VWF-N may be relevant markers for characterization of disease phenotype and are associated with mortality in COPD.

Study Identifier: NCT00292552; GSK study code SCO104960.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S235673DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7069584PMC
February 2021

Atrial fibrillation and cardiac fibrosis: A review on the potential of extracellular matrix proteins as biomarkers.

Matrix Biol 2020 09 20;91-92:188-203. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Nordic Bioscience, Biomarkers and Research, Herlev, Denmark.

The involvement of fibrosis as an underlying pathology in heart diseases is becoming increasingly clear. In recent years, fibrosis has been granted a causative role in heart diseases and is now emerging as a major contributor to Atrial Fibrillation (AF) pathogenesis. AF is the most common arrhythmia encountered in the clinic, but the substrate for AF is still being debated. Consensus in the field is a combination of cardiac tissue remodeling, inflammation and genetic predisposition. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is subject of growing investigation, since measuring circulatory biomarkers of ECM formation and degradation provides both diagnostic and prognostic information. However, fibrosis is not just fibrosis. Each specific collagen biomarker holds information on regulatory mechanisms, as well as information about which section of the ECM is being remodeled, providing a detailed description of cardiac tissue homeostasis. This review entails an overview of the implication of fibrosis in AF, the different collagens and their significance, and the potential of using biomarkers of ECM remodeling as tools for understanding AF pathogenesis and identifying patients at risk for further disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2020.03.005DOI Listing
September 2020

Dose Frequency Optimization of the Dual Amylin and Calcitonin Receptor Agonist KBP-088: Long-Lasting Improvement in Food Preference and Body Weight Loss.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2020 05 18;373(2):269-278. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Nordic Bioscience Biomarkers and Research, Department of Endocrinology, Herlev, Denmark.

Dual amylin and calcitonin receptor agonists (DACRAs) are novel candidates for treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity because of their beneficial effects on body weight, blood glucose, insulin sensitivity, and food preference, at least short-term. DACRAs activate the receptors for a prolonged time period, resulting in metabolic effects superior to those of amylin. Because of the prolonged receptor activation, different dosing intervals and, hence, less frequent receptor activation might change the efficacy of DACRA treatment in terms of weight loss and food preference. In this study, we compared daily dosing to dosing every other day with the aim of understanding the optimal balance between efficacy and tolerability. Obese and lean male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with the DACRA KBP-088, applying two different dosing intervals (1.5 nmol/kg once daily and 3 nmol/kg every other day) to assess the effect on body weight, food intake, glucose tolerance, and food preference when given the choice between chow (13% fat) and a high-fat diet (60% fat). Treatment with KBP-088 induced significant weight loss, reduction in adiposity, improvement in glucose control, and altered food preference toward food that is less calorie-dense. KBP-088 dosed every other day (3 nmol/kg) was superior to KBP-088 once daily (1.5 nmol/kg) in terms of weight loss and improvement of food preference. The beneficial effects were evident in both lean and obese rats. Hence, dosing KBP-088 every other day positively affects overall efficacy on metabolic parameters regardless of the lean/obese state, suggesting that less-frequent dosing with KBP-088 could be feasible. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Here, we show that food preference can be altered chronically toward choices that are less calorie-dense by pharmacological treatment. Further, pharmacological dosing regimens affect the efficacy differently, as dosing every other day improved body weight loss and alterations in food preference compared with daily dosing. This suggest that alterations of the dosing regimens could be feasible in the treatment of obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.119.263400DOI Listing
May 2020

Correlation between serological biomarkers of extracellular matrix turnover and lung fibrosis and pulmonary artery hypertension in patients with systemic sclerosis.

Int J Rheum Dis 2020 Apr 5;23(4):532-539. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

The First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health Japan, Kitakyushu, Japan.

Objective: To determine the value of serological biomarkers of collagen degradation/turnover as serum markers of organ involvement in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).

Methods: Serum samples were obtained from 79 SSc patients and 19 healthy control subjects. Types I to VI collagen turnover, excluding type II collagen, were evaluated using nine serological biomarkers. Organ involvement, such as interstitial lung disease (ILD), pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), esophageal motility disorder, lower gastrointestinal lesions, joint contractures and digital ulceration, were evaluated and correlated with serum biomarkers.

Results: Among multiple serological biomarkers of collagen turnover, the mean level of C5M was higher in SSc (3.9 ng/mL) than healthy subjects (2.6 ng/mL). In addition, PRO-C6 (12.6 ng/mL vs 5.4 ng/mL) and C6M (26.0 ng/mL vs 16.7 ng/mL) were higher in SSc than the controls. The modified Rodnan skin score correlated with PRO-C3 and PRO-C6. Serum level of C6M was higher in patients with ILD. Furthermore, serum levels of PRO-C3, PRO-C6, and C6M were higher in patients with PAH. The use of high levels of these biomarkers as risk factors of PAH showed that all patients with PAH had high levels of risk factors. Of note, two-third of patients with serum PRO-C3, PRO-C6 and C6M values above the respective cut-off values had PAH.

Conclusion: Our study indicated that collagen turnover abnormality, especially type VI collagen, is not only important pathologically in skin sclerosis but also in organ involvement. These biomarkers of collagen turnover are potentially clinically useful as biomarkers of organ involvement in SSc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1756-185X.13804DOI Listing
April 2020

Collagen biology and non-invasive biomarkers of liver fibrosis.

Liver Int 2020 04 19;40(4):736-750. Epub 2020 Feb 19.

Division of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

There is an unmet need for high-quality liquid biomarkers that can safely and reproducibly predict the stage of fibrosis and the outcomes of chronic liver disease (CLD). The requirement for such markers has intensified because of the high global prevalence of diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In particular, there is a need for diagnostic and prognostic tools, as well as predictive biomarkers that reflect the efficacy of interventions, as described by the BEST criteria (Biomarkers, EndpointS, and other Tools Resource). This review covers the various liver collagens, their functional role in tissue homeostasis and delineates the common nomenclature for biomarkers based on BEST criteria. It addresses the common confounders affecting serological biomarkers, and describes defined collagen epitope biomarkers that originate from the dynamic processes of extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling during liver injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14390DOI Listing
April 2020

Cirrhotic Human Liver Extracellular Matrix 3D Scaffolds Promote Smad-Dependent TGF-β1 Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition.

Cells 2019 12 28;9(1). Epub 2019 Dec 28.

Regenerative Medicine & Fibrosis Group, Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, University College London (UCL), London NW3 2PF, UK.

An altered liver microenvironment characterized by a dysregulated extracellular matrix (ECM) supports the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The development of experimental platforms able to reproduce these physio-pathological conditions is essential in order to identify and validate new therapeutic targets for HCC. The aim of this work was to validate a new in vitro model based on engineering three-dimensional (3D) healthy and cirrhotic human liver scaffolds with HCC cells recreating the micro-environmental features favoring HCC. Healthy and cirrhotic human livers ECM scaffolds were developed using a high shear stress oscillation-decellularization procedure. The scaffolds bio-physical/bio-chemical properties were analyzed by qualitative and quantitative approaches. Cirrhotic 3D scaffolds were characterized by biomechanical properties and microarchitecture typical of the native cirrhotic tissue. Proteomic analysis was employed on decellularized 3D scaffolds and showed specific enriched proteins in cirrhotic ECM in comparison to healthy ECM proteins. Cell repopulation of cirrhotic scaffolds highlighted a unique up-regulation in genes related to epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and TGFβ signaling. This was also supported by the presence and release of higher concentration of endogenous TGFβ1 in cirrhotic scaffolds in comparison to healthy scaffolds. Fibronectin secretion was significantly upregulated in cells grown in cirrhotic scaffolds in comparison to cells engrafted in healthy scaffolds. TGFβ1 induced the phosphorylation of canonical proteins Smad2/3, which was ECM scaffold-dependent. Important, TGFβ1-induced phosphorylation of Smad2/3 was significantly reduced and ECM scaffold-independent when pre/simultaneously treated with the TGFβ-R1 kinase inhibitor Galunisertib. In conclusion, the inherent features of cirrhotic human liver ECM micro-environment were dissected and characterized for the first time as key pro-carcinogenic components in HCC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9010083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7017194PMC
December 2019

Addition of trans fat and alcohol has divergent effects on atherogenic diet-induced liver injury in rodent models of steatohepatitis.

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2020 03 6;318(3):G410-G418. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Innovative Medicines Unit, Grünenthal, Aachen, Germany.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic liver disease (ALD) are common causes of chronic liver disease. The overlap between ALD and NAFLD suggests the existence of metabolic steatohepatitis. Development of in vivo models that reflect various aspects of human steatohepatitis is essential for drug discovery. We aimed to characterize several models of steatohepatitis (SH) and to investigate whether the pathology could be modulated. Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 9 wk, followed by either a high-fat, high-cholesterol and cholate diet (HFC) or a HFC diet containing 13% trans fat (HFC-TF). A subset received 15% ethanol-water twice a week for 12 wk. Serum triglycerides, cholesterol, LDL, HDL, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and rodent NH-terminal propeptide of type III collagen (rPRO-C3) were assessed. The liver was weighed and evaluated using modified Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network histological score system criteria. All diets induced hepatomegaly, but only HFC-TF increased the size of visceral adipose tissue. Trans fat augmented HFC-induced dyslipidemia, and cholesterol was higher and HDL was lower in the HFC-TF groups. Alcohol lowered triglycerides in both dietary groups. HFC elevated ALT and AST, which were lowered by trans fat. All diets induced histological SH, addition of trans fat induced more steatosis but less inflammation. Inclusion of alcohol augmented the HFC-induced inflammation. All diets induced mild fibrosis. Inclusion of trans fat and alcohol significantly increased rPRO-C3. The addition of trans fat reduced the HFC-induced inflammation but augmented steatosis and dyslipidemia. Inclusion of alcohol induced a more inflammatory and fibrogenic phenotype. Alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic liver disease share significant overlap, which suggests the existence of metabolic steatohepatitis. Trans fat has been implicated in steatohepatitis development. Here, we show that the addition of trans fat to an atherogenic diet results in a more steatotic but less inflammatory phenotype, whereas the addition of alcohol to an atherogenic diet augments the inflammatory and fibrogenic properties of the diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpgi.00066.2019DOI Listing
March 2020

Recent advances in understanding the phenotypes of osteoarthritis.

F1000Res 2019 12;8. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Division of Internal Medicine & Dermatology, Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Recent research in the field of osteoarthritis (OA) has focused on understanding the underlying molecular and clinical phenotypes of the disease. This narrative review article focuses on recent advances in our understanding of the phenotypes of OA and proposes that the disease represents a diversity of clinical phenotypes that are underpinned by a number of molecular mechanisms, which may be shared by several phenotypes and targeted more specifically for therapeutic purposes. The clinical phenotypes of OA supposedly have different underlying etiologies and pathogenic pathways and they progress at different rates. Large OA population cohorts consist of a majority of patients whose disease progresses slowly and a minority of individuals whose disease may progress faster. The ability to identify the people with relatively rapidly progressing OA can transform clinical trials and enhance their efficiency. The identification, characterization, and classification of molecular phenotypes of rapidly progressing OA, which represent patients who may benefit most from intervention, could potentially serve as the basis for precision medicine for this disabling condition. Imaging and biochemical markers (biomarkers) are important diagnostic and research tools that can assist with this challenge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.20575.1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913225PMC
January 2020