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Uncontrolled activation of the alternative pathway (AP) of complement, due to genetic and/or acquired defects, plays a primary pathogenetic role in C3 glomerulopathy (C3G), a rare and heterogeneous disease characterised by predominant C3 fragment deposition within the glomerulus, as well as glomerular damage. There are currently no approved disease-specific treatments for C3G, but new drugs that directly counteract AP dysregulation, targeting components of the pathway, have opened promising new perspectives for managing the disease. Complement factor B (FB), which is primarily synthesised by hepatocytes, is a key component of the AP, as it drives the central amplification loop of the complement system. In this study we used a GalNAc (N-Acetylgalactosamine)-conjugated siRNA to selectively target and suppress liver FB expression in two mouse models characterised by the complete (Cfh-/- mice) or partial (Cfh+/-) loss of function of complement factor H (FH). Homozygous deletion of FH induced a severe C3G phenotype, with strong dysregulation of the AP of complement, glomerular C3 deposition and almost complete C3 consumption. Mice with a heterozygous deletion of FH had intermediate C3 levels and exhibited slower disease progression, resembling human C3G more closely. Here we showed that FB siRNA treatment did not improve serum C3 levels, nor limit glomerular C3 deposition in Cfh-/- mice, while it did normalise circulating C3 levels, reduce glomerular C3 deposits, and limit mesangial electron-dense deposits in Cfh+/- mice. The present data provide important insights into the potential benefits and limitations of FB-targeted inhibition strategies and suggest RNA interference-mediated FB silencing in the liver as a possible therapeutic approach for treating C3G patients with FH haploinsufficiency. Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


Cristina Zanchi, Monica Locatelli, Daniela Corna, Domenico Cerullo, Elane Fishilevich, Dhruv Desai, Daniela Rottoli, Roberta Donadelli, Marina Noris, Carlamaria Zoja, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Ariela Benigni. Liver factor B silencing to cure C3 glomerulopathy: Evidence from a mouse model of complement dysregulation. Molecular immunology. 2023 Sep;161:25-32

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PMID: 37481826

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