Albumin-binding fatty acid–modified gapmer antisense oligonucleotides for modulation of pharmacokinetics

Yunpeng Cai, Chenguang Lou, Jesper Wengel, Kenneth A. Howard*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Prolonged circulation and modulation of the pharmacokinetic profile are important to improve the clinical potential of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). Gapmer ASOs demonstrate excellent nuclease stability and robust gene silencing activity without the requirement of transfection agents. A major challenge for in vivo applications, however, is the short blood circulatory half-life. This work describes utilization of the long circulation of serum albumin to increase the blood residence time of gapmer ASOs. The method introduces fatty acid modifications into the gapmer ASOs design to exploit the binding and transport property of serum albumin for endogenous ligands. The level of albumin–gapmer ASOs interaction, blood circulatory half-life and biodistribution was dependent on number, position, and fatty acid type (palmitic or myristic acid) within the gapmer ASO sequence and either phosphorothioate or phosphodiester backbone modifications. This work offers a strategy to optimize gapmer ASO pharmacokinetics by a proposed endogenous assembly process with serum albumin that can be tuned by gapmer ASO design modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGapmers : Methods and Protocols
EditorsToshifumi Yokota, Rika Maruyama
PublisherHumana Press
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781071607701
ISBN (Electronic)9781071607718
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesMethods in Molecular Biology


  • Circulatory half-life
  • Gapmer antisense oligonucleotides
  • Myristic acid
  • Palmitic acid
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Serum albumin


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