Cantu Syndrome (CS) is a complex disorder caused by gain-of-function (GoF) mutations in ABCC9 and KCNJ8, which encode the SUR2 and Kir6.1 subunits, respectively, of vascular smooth muscle (VSM) KATP channels. CS includes dilated vasculature, marked cardiac hypertrophy, and other cardiovascular abnormalities. There is currently no targeted therapy, and it is unknown whether cardiovascular features can be reversed once manifest. Using combined transgenic and pharmacological approaches in a knock-in mouse model of CS, we have shown that reversal of vascular and cardiac phenotypes can be achieved (1) by genetic downregulation of KATP channel activity specifically in VSM, and (2) by chronic administration of the clinically-used KATP channel inhibitor, glibenclamide. These findings demonstrate (i) that VSM KATP channel GoF underlies CS cardiac enlargement, (ii) reversibility of CS-associated abnormalities and (iii) evidence of in vivo efficacy of glibenclamide as a therapeutic agent in CS.
Conor McClenaghan, Yan Huang, Zihan Yan, Theresa Harter, Carmen M. Halabi, Rod Chalk, Attila Kovacs, Gijs van Haaften, Maria S. Remedi, Colin G. Nichols