Hypocholesterolemic activity of a novel inhibitor of cholesterol absorption, SCH 48461

Atherosclerosis. 1995 May;115(1):45-63. doi: 10.1016/0021-9150(94)05499-9.


The amount of cholesterol that circulates in the plasma as lipoproteins can be affected by the balance of cholesterol metabolism within and between the intestines and liver. In the present report, we describe a novel hypocholesterolemic agent and document its pharmacological effects in animal models of hypercholesterolemia. The oral administration of (3R,4S)-1,4-bis-(4-methoxyphenyl)-3-(3-phenylpropyl)-2-azetidinone (SCH 48461) reduced plasma cholesterol concentrations in cholesterol-fed hamsters, rats and rhesus monkeys with ED50s of 1, 2 and 0.2 mg/kg per day, respectively, SCH 48461 was also highly effective in reducing hepatic cholesteryl ester accumulation in cholesterol-fed hamsters and rats after 7 days of treatment. In one 3 week study, rhesus monkeys were fed a 0.25% cholesterol/22% saturated fat diet with or without SCH 48461. At the end of the 3 week period the control group's VLDL + LDL-cholesterol increased to 180 Mg/dl from a baseline of approximately 65 mg/dl while plasma apolipoprotein B levels had doubled. Animals treated daily with 1 mg/kg SCH 48461 maintained their baseline levels of VLDL + LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and plasma apolipoproteins B and A-I. After 3 weeks the diets of the two groups were switched. Within 1 week SCH 48461 (1 mg/kg per day) rapidly reversed the elevated VLDL + LDL-cholesterol levels of the previous control group to near baseline values. SCH 48461 exerted its hypocholesterolemic effect through the inhibition of cholesterol absorption. A dose of 10 mg/kg per day inhibited cholesterol absorption in cholesterol-fed hamsters by 68% while a similar reduction was achieved in chow-fed monkeys with 3 mg/kg per day. This latter dose inhibited cholesterol absorption in cholesterol-fed monkeys by 95%. Treatment of cholesterol-fed monkeys with 10 mg/kg per day SCH 48461 significantly increased fecal neutral sterol excretion (52 vs. 32 mg/kg) but had no effect on acidic sterol excretion. Using a 2-h absorption model in cholesterol-fed hamsters, SCH 48461 caused a 46% inhibition of unesterified [14C]cholesterol accumulation in the intestinal wall and a 90% inhibition of cholesteryl ester formation at a dose of 10 mg/kg. Similar data were observed when the plasma radioactivity was assessed, indicating inhibition of both free (61%) and esterified (85%) cholesterol appearance. In contrast, CI-976, a potent acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) inhibitor, did not affect the uptake of free cholesterol into the intestines while inhibiting cholesterol esterification (98% inhibition).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apolipoproteins / blood
  • Azetidines / administration & dosage
  • Azetidines / pharmacology*
  • Azetidines / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Cricetinae
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Rats
  • Sterols / analysis


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Apolipoproteins
  • Azetidines
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Lipoproteins
  • Sterols
  • 1,4-bis(4-methoxyphenyl)-3-(3-phenylpropyl)-2-azetidinone
  • Cholesterol