Evaluation of the therapeutic potential of a CNP analog in a Fgfr3 mouse model recapitulating achondroplasia.
Achondroplasia (ACH), the most common form of dwarfism, is an inherited autosomal-dominant chondrodysplasia caused by a gain-of-function mutation in fibroblast-growth-factor-receptor 3 (FGFR3). C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) antagonizes FGFR3 downstream signaling by inhibiting the pathway of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Here, we report the pharmacological activity of a 39 amino acid CNP analog (BMN 111) with an extended plasma half-life due to its resistance to neutral-endopeptidase (NEP) digestion. In ACH human growth-plate chondrocytes, we demonstrated a decrease in the phosphorylation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2, confirming that this CNP analog inhibits fibroblast-growth-factor-mediated MAPK activation. Concomitantly, we analyzed the phenotype of Fgfr3(Y367C/+) mice and showed the presence of ACH-related clinical features in this mouse model. We found that in Fgfr3(Y367C/+) mice, treatment with this CNP analog led to a significant recovery of bone growth. We observed an increase in the axial and appendicular skeleton lengths, and improvements in dwarfism-related clinical features included flattening of the skull, reduced crossbite, straightening of the tibias and femurs, and correction of the growth-plate defect. Thus, our results provide the proof of concept that BMN 111, a NEP-resistant CNP analog, might benefit individuals with ACH and hypochondroplasia.