Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare, genetic disorder with features of accelerated aging. The majority of HGPS cases caused by a de novo point mutation in the LMNA gene (c.1824C > T; p.G608G) that results in progerin, a toxic lamin A protein variant. Children with the disease mostly die from coronary artery diseases or strokes at an average age of 14.6 years. Endothelial dysfunction is a key contributor to the cardiovascular pathobiology as the endothelium maintains vascular homeostasis and vascular tone by activating eNOS responsible for nitric oxide (NO) production. Perturbation of eNOS activity causes many diseases including atherosclerosis. Despite the vast knowledge of endothelial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, very little known about the role of progerin in the disruption of endothelial cell function in HGPS. Furthermore, there is accumulated evidence about the role of progerin in many aspects of generalized aging and cardiovascular health. Particularly, the atherosclerotic plaques in HGPS are similar to those found in aging individuals. Moreover, vascular stiffening in HGPS is much like that seen on normal aging that manifested in both populations by increased pulse wave velocity. Using human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs), I demonstrated the reduction of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression level and activity in HGPS ECs compared to their normal controls. Consequently, the depletion of nitric oxide bioavailability in HGPS ECs both in static and fluidic culture conditions. Remarkably, iPSC-derived HGPS ECs exhibited eNOS dependent functional defects in forming microvascular networks that validated through over-expression of progerin in healthy human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). I also found that Adenine Base Editor (ABEmax) that mediates the conversion of AT to GC in genomic DNA efficiently corrected the HGPS mutation, and the progerin expression was significantly reduced to the basal level. In addition, ABEmax rescued the nuclear blebbing phenotype of the HGPS iPSC-ECs. Thus, the study provides valuable insights into HGPS cardiovascular pathology and cardiovascular diseases associated with normal aging, and may lead to novel strategies to treat cardiovascular disease in HGPS.

Public Health Relevance

The study focuses on investigating the mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular remodeling in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS), a rare premature aging disease. The study also examines Adenine Base Editor(ABEmax) gene editing system in correcting the HGPS mutation and rescuing the progeroid phenotypes in HGPS induced pluripotent stem cell derived endothelial cells. The study provides valuable insights into the HGPS cardiovascular pathology, and leads to novel therapeutics to the cardiovascular disease associated with HGPS and normal aging.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Dissertation Award (R36)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee (NIA)
Program Officer
Kerr, Candace L
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Maryland College Park
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Earth Sciences/Resources
College Park
United States
Zip Code