Changes in lipid metabolism and effect of simvastatin in renal transplant recipients induced by cyclosporine or tacrolimus

Atherosclerosis. 2001 Oct;158(2):417-23. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9150(01)00438-5.


Hyperlipidemia is frequently developed following renal transplantation and results in worsening of the patient's prognosis. In study 1, the effects of immunosuppressants, cyclosporine (CsA) and tacrolimus on serum lipids were compared in-patients undergoing renal transplantation. The study included 32 cases of renal transplantation recipients who randomized to the CsA treatment group (15 patients) and the tacrolimus group (17 patients). Before and 1 month after the transplantation, we assessed the serum lipid levels, apolipoprotein levels, the concentrations of cholesterol in the respective lipoprotein fractions and the enzyme activities related to lipid-metabolism. The serum lipid levels in both groups were significantly increased at 1 month after renal transplantation. In the CsA group, there were significant increases in cholesterol contents in very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), LDL2 and HDL2 fractions, whereas, in the tacrolimus group, cholesterol content was increased in VLDL and HDL2 fractions. In study 2, 1 month after renal transplantation, 19 patients with hypercholesterolemia (total cholesterol (TC) >200 mg/dl) and hypertriglyceridemia (triglyceride (TG) >150 mg/dl) were treated with simvastatin 5-10 mg/day for 6 months. Simvastatin treatment significantly decreased serum TC (240+/-29-200+/-22 mg/dl, P<0.001), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C; 114+/-20-99+/-17 mg/dl, P<0.05) and TG levels (217+/-103-130+/-38 mg/dl, P<0.01). In addition, there were significant decreases in very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C; 53+/-20-34+/-15 mg/dl, P<0.001). The Cmax and AUC of simvastatin were increased about eight-fold, when simvastatin was given in combination with CsA. In contrast, no significant changes in simvastatin levels were observed when combination with tacrolimus. Although simvastatin levels were increased with CsA, there were no abnormal changes in renal and liver functions, creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) levels or in incidence of adverse effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apolipoproteins / blood
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Simvastatin / therapeutic use*
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Cyclosporine
  • Cholesterol
  • Simvastatin
  • Tacrolimus