Metabolic blood profile and response to treatment with the pyruvate kinase activator mitapivat in patients with sickle cell disease

Myrthe J. van Dijk, Titine J.J. Ruiter, Sigrid van der Veen, Minke A.E. Rab, Brigitte A. van Oirschot, Jennifer Bos, Cleo Derichs, Anita W. Rijneveld, Marjon H. Cnossen, Erfan Nur, Bart J. Biemond, Marije Bartels, Roger E.G. Schutgens, Wouter W. van Solinge, Judith J.M. Jans, Eduard J. van Beers*, Richard van Wijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Mitapivat is an investigational, oral, small-molecule allosteric activator of pyruvate kinase (PK). PK is a regulatory glycolytic enzyme that is key in providing the red blood cell (RBC) with sufficient amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In sickle cell disease (SCD), decreased 2,3-DPG levels increase the oxygen affinity of hemoglobin, thereby preventing deoxygenation and polymerization of sickle hemoglobin. The PK activator mitapivat has been shown to decrease levels of 2,3-DPG and increase levels of ATP in RBCs in patients with SCD. In this phase 2, investigator-initiated, open-label study ( NL8517; EudraCT 2019-003438-18), untargeted metabolomics was used to explore the overall metabolic effects of 8-week treatment with mitapivat in the dose-finding period. In total, 1773 unique metabolites were identified in dried blood spots of whole blood from ten patients with SCD and 42 healthy controls (HCs). The metabolic phenotype of patients with SCD revealed alterations in 139/1773 (7.8%) metabolites at baseline when compared to HCs (false discovery rate-adjusted p < 0.05), including increases of (derivatives of) polyamines, purines, and acyl carnitines. Eight-week treatment with mitapivat in nine patients with SCD altered 85/1773 (4.8%) of the total metabolites and 18/139 (12.9%) of the previously identified altered metabolites in SCD (unadjusted p < 0.05). Effects were observed on a broad spectrum of metabolites and were not limited to glycolytic intermediates. Our results show the relevance of metabolic profiling in SCD, not only to unravel potential pathophysiological pathways and biomarkers in multisystem diseases but also to determine the effect of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere109
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

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© 2024 The Author(s). HemaSphere published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Hematology Association.


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