Clinical trial in a dish using iPSCs shows lovastatin improves endothelial dysfunction and cellular cross-talk in LMNA cardiomyopathy
Mutations in LMNA, the gene that encodes lamin A and C, causes LMNA-related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or cardiolaminopathy. LMNA is expressed in endothelial cells (ECs); however, little is known about the EC-specific phenotype of LMNA-related DCM. Here, we studied a family affected by DCM due to a frameshift variant in LMNA. Human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)–derived ECs were generated from patients with LMNA-related DCM and phenotypically characterized. Patients with LMNA-related DCM exhibited clinical endothelial dysfunction, and their iPSC-ECs showed decreased functionality as seen by impaired angiogenesis and nitric oxide (NO) pro- duction. Moreover, genome-edited isogenic iPSC lines recapitulated the EC disease phenotype in which LMNA-corrected iPSC-ECs showed restoration of EC function. Simultaneous profiling of chromatin accessibility and gene expression dynamics by combining assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) as well as loss-of-function studies identified Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) as a potential transcription factor responsible for the EC dysfunction. Gain-of-function studies showed that treatment of LMNA iPSC-ECs with KLF2 agonists, including lovastatin, rescued the EC dysfunction. Patients with LMNA-related DCM treated with lovastatin showed improvements in clinical endothelial dysfunction as indicated by increased reactive hyperemia index. Furthermore, iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) from patients ex- hibiting the DCM phenotype showed improvement in CM function when cocultured with iPSC-ECs and lovastatin. These results suggest that impaired cross-talk between ECs and CMs can contribute to the pathogenesis of LMNA- related DCM, and statin may be an effective therapy for vascular dysfunction in patients with cardiolaminopathy.