Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the epithelial chloride channel CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. The most common mutation is a deletion of three nucleotides leading to the loss of phenylalanine at position 508 (p.Phe508del) in the protein. This study evaluates eluforsen, a novel, single-stranded, 33-nucleotide antisense oligonucleotide designed to restore CFTR function, in in vitro and in vivo models of p.Phe508del CF. The aims of the study were to demonstrate cellular uptake of eluforsen, and its efficacy in functional restoration of p.Phe508del-CFTR both in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, the effect of eluforsen was investigated in human CF pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells and human bronchial epithelial cells. Two mouse models were used to evaluate eluforsen in vivo. In vitro, eluforsen improved chloride efflux in CF pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell cultures and increased short-circuit current in primary human bronchial epithelial cells, both indicating restoration of CFTR function. In vivo, eluforsen was taken up by airway epithelium following oro-tracheal administration in mice, resulting in systemic exposure of eluforsen. In female F508del-CFTR mice, eluforsen significantly increased CFTR-mediated saliva secretion (used as a measure of CFTR function, equivalent to the sweat test in humans). Similarly, intranasal administration of eluforsen significantly improved nasal potential difference (NPD), and therefore CFTR conductance, in two CF mouse models. These findings indicate that eluforsen improved CFTR function in cell and animal models of p.Phe508del-CFTR-mediated CF and supported further development of eluforsen in human clinical trials, where eluforsen has also been shown to improve CFTR activity as measured by NPD.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL,
Journal PLoS ONE
Beumer, W. (Wouter), Swildens, J. (Jim), Leal, T, Noel, S, Anthonijsz, H. (Herma), van der Horst, G. (Geert), … Ritsema, T. (Tita). (2019). Evaluation of eluforsen, a novel RNA oligonucleotide for restoration of CFTR function in in vitro and murine models of p.Phe508del cystic fibrosis. PLoS ONE, 14(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0219182