Targeting heart disease: Researchers identify new strategy for lowering blood triglycerides

Image shows cover of January 29, 2020 issue of Science Translational Medicine .

Researchers have developed a new strategy for lowering triglycerides in the blood using a peptide called D6PV. The peptide holds promise for treating high triglyceride-induced acute pancreatitis, a condition involving inflammation of the pancreas for which no approved therapies exist. The peptide also shows potential for the prevention of heart disease, the researchers said.

D6PV mimics apolipoprotein C-II (apoC-II), a protein found in the body which activates an enzyme that breaks down triglycerides. In this study, the researchers demonstrated that D6PV promoted the breakdown of lipids in plasma from people with hypertriglyceridemia (a condition that causes heart disease) and decreased plasma triglycerides in mouse models.  D6PV is currently an investigational drug.

“This experimental peptide holds the potential to improve the treatment of diseases involving high triglycerides, such as acute pancreatitis, as well as for reducing the risk of heart disease,” said study co-author Alan Remaley, M.D., Ph.D., a senior investigator in the Lipoprotein Metabolism Laboratory, Translational Vascular Medicine Branch, NHLBI. “We look forward to future studies in this area. ” 

High triglycerides are the third leading cause of acute pancreatitis. In the United States, there are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 hospitalized cases of high triglyceride-induced acute pancreatitis cases each year and there are currently no approved therapies for its treatment.  The study, funding in part by the NHLBI, appeared in Science Translational Medicine. The study was featured on the  cover of the journal.