Small interfering (si) RNAs and antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs; here for simplicity reasons, both referred to as oligonucleotides) are small synthetic RNA or DNA molecules with a sequence complementary to a (pre)mRNA. Although the basic mechanisms of action between siRNAs and ASO are distinct, a sequence-specific interaction of the both oligonucleotides with the target (pre)mRNA alters the target’s fate, which includes highly effective sequence-specific blockade of translation and consequently depletion of the corresponding protein. For a number of years, these oligonucleotides have been used as a tool in biological research to study gene function in vitro. More recently, safe and specific delivery of these oligonucleotides to the liver of mammals has been achieved and optimized. This not only allowed their use for in vivo gene studies in physiology and disease, but also opened the opportunity for the development of a new generation of RNA-specific drugs for therapeutic purposes. In 2013, the first oligonucleotide product targeting RNA from the hepatic cholesterol pathway was approved. For blood coagulation, a large portion of key proteins are produced in the liver, and thereby siRNAs and ASOs can also be used as appropriate tools to target these proteins in vivo. In this review, we describe the first use of oligonucleotides for this purpose from zebrafish to primates. As the use of oligonucleotides allows avoidance of early lethality associated with full deficiency of several coagulation factors, it has proved to be of value for studying these proteins in physiology and disease. Currently, oligonucleotides are tested as therapeutics, with the ultimate goal to beneficially modulate the hemostatic balance in thrombosis and hemophilia patients. We discuss both the preclinical and clinical studies of a number of siRNAs and ASOs with the potential to be introduced as drugs for prophylactic and/or treatment of thrombosis or hemophilia. We conclude that for the coagulation field, oligonucleotides are of value for research purposes, and now the moment has come to fulfill their promise as therapeutics.
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- Oligonucleotides targeting coagulation factor mRNAs: use in thrombosis and hemophilia research and therapy
Bart J.M. van Vlijmen
- BioMed Central
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