Background: Reduced plasma concentration of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is associated with vulnerability to oxidative stress and propensity to endothelial dysfunction. Niacin directly activates both GPR-109A in leukocytes and the heme oxygenase-1 pathway, promoting strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects, as well as induces immediate production of prostaglandin D2, leading to endothelial vasodilation.
Objective: This study investigated the short-term effects of extended-release niacin (ERN) administered with or without the prostaglandin D2 receptor antagonist laropiprant on endothelial function in patients with low HDL-C.
Methods: Asymptomatic men and women aged between 20 and 60 years who had plasma HDL-C levels <40 mg/dL were treated with ERN monotherapy 1 g/d or ERN/laropiprant 1 g/20 mg (ERN/LRP) in a crossover study design. The sequence of treatments was decided by simple randomization. Plasma samples and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery were obtained at baseline, day 7 of treatment period 1, day 7 of washout, and day 7 of treatment period 2.
Results: Eighteen patients were enrolled (mean [SD] age, 42  years; 11 men). Triglyceride levels decreased by 4% and 3%, and HDL size decreased by 5.8% and 6.2%, with ERN and ERN/LRP, respectively (both, P < 0.05). There were no changes in HDL-C levels or in cholesteryl esterase transfer protein activity with either treatment. The median increases in FMD were 4.5% and 4.1% with ERN and ERN/LRP, which receded after washout. On intergroup analysis, there were no differences with respect to variation in plasma HDL-C, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, direct bilirubin, or FMD.
Conclusions: In these patients, the addition of laropiprant did not influence the effects of niacin on endothelial function. Based on these findings, short-term niacin treatment might improve endothelial function in patients with low HDL-C levels. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01942291.
Keywords: HDL; endothelial function; laropiprant; niacin.
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