Background: Low plasma concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a feature of the metabolic syndrome. Rosuvastatin has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol concentration, but the mechanisms remain unclear.
Methods and results: Twelve men with the metabolic syndrome were studied in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial of 5-wk therapeutic periods with placebo, 10 mg/d rosuvastatin, or 40 mg/d rosuvastatin, with 2-wk placebo washout between each period. Compared with placebo, there was a significant dose-dependent increase in HDL cholesterol, HDL particle size, and concentration of HDL particles that contain apolipoprotein A-I (LpA-I). The increase in LpA-I concentration was associated with significant dose-dependent reductions in triglyceride concentration and LpA-I fractional catabolic rate, with no changes in LpA-I production rate. There was a significant dose-dependent reduction in the fractional catabolic rate of HDL particles containing both apolipoprotein A-I and A-II (LpA-I:A-II), with concomitant reduction in LpA-I:A-II production rate, and hence no change in LpA-I:A-II concentration.
Conclusions: Rosuvastatin dose-dependently increased plasma HDL cholesterol and LpA-I concentrations in the metabolic syndrome. This could relate to reduction in plasma triglycerides with remodeling of HDL particles and reduction in LpA-I fractional catabolism. The findings contribute to understanding mechanisms for the HDL-raising effect of rosuvastatin in the metabolic syndrome with implications for reduction in cardiovascular disease.