The effect of immunomodulatory drugs on aortic stenosis: a Mendelian randomisation analysis.
Ciofani JL., Han D., Nazarzadeh M., Allahwala UK., De Maria GL., Banning AP., Bhindi R., Rahimi K.
There are currently no approved pharmacological treatment options for aortic stenosis (AS), and there are limited identified drug targets for this chronic condition. It remains unclear whether inflammation plays a role in AS pathogenesis and whether immunomodulation could become a therapeutic target. We evaluated the potentially causal association between inflammation and AS by investigating the genetically proxied effects of tocilizumab (IL6 receptor, IL6R, inhibitor), canakinumab (IL1β inhibitor) and colchicine (β-tubulin inhibitor) through a Mendelian randomisation (MR) approach. Genetic proxies for these drugs were identified as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene, enhancer or promoter regions of IL6R, IL1β or β-tubulin gene isoforms, respectively, that were significantly associated with serum C-reactive protein (CRP) in a large European genome-wide association study (GWAS; 575,531 participants). These were paired with summary statistics from a large GWAS of AS in European patients (653,867 participants) to then perform primary inverse-variance weighted random effect and sensitivity MR analyses for each exposure. This analysis showed that genetically proxied tocilizumab was associated with reduced risk of AS (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.45-0.70 per unit decrease in genetically predicted log-transformed CRP). Genetically proxied canakinumab was not associated with risk of AS (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.51-1.26), and only one suitable SNP was identified to proxy the effect of colchicine (OR 34.37, 95% CI 1.99-592.89). The finding that genetically proxied tocilizumab was associated with reduced risk of AS is concordant with an inflammatory hypothesis of AS pathogenesis. Inhibition of IL6R may be a promising therapeutic target for AS management.