Colchicine's effects on lipoprotein particle concentrations in adults with metabolic syndrome: A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial

J Clin Lipidol. 2019 Nov-Dec;13(6):1016-1022.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2019.10.011. Epub 2019 Oct 22.


Background: Colchicine has received renewed interest for its potential beneficial effects in secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. This was presumed to be primarily because of its anti-inflammatory effects; however, limited data exist regarding colchicine's impact on other cardiovascular risk factors.

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine if colchicine's anti-inflammatory actions would lead to reduced circulating concentrations of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) in metabolically unhealthy individuals. We also examined if colchicine would improve concentrations of other atherogenic lipoprotein subfractions.

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study in which 40 adults with metabolic syndrome were randomized to colchicine 0.6 mg or placebo twice daily for 3 months. Blood samples were collected in the fasted state. OxLDL was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to measure other lipoprotein particle subfraction concentrations.

Results: Compared with placebo, colchicine reduced markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and GlycA (P < .01). Concentrations of oxLDL (P = .019) and small LDL (P = .022) appeared significantly increased in the colchicine arm. Colchicine had no significant effect on other lipoprotein subfractions or lipoprotein particle sizes (all P > .05).

Conclusion: Although colchicine may have benefit in secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in at-risk individuals, we found no evidence that these effects are because of improvements in circulating atherogenic lipoprotein particle concentrations. Further studies are needed to confirm whether colchicine increases circulating oxLDL and small LDL levels in adults with metabolic syndrome. If true, additional research is warranted to elucidate the mechanisms underlying these associations.

Trial registration: NCT02153983.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Colchicine; Inflammation; Lipoprotein particles; Obesity; oxLDL.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis / blood
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Placebo Effect


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • Colchicine

Associated data