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, 24 (3), 173-8

Enhanced Cellular Metabolism of Very Low Density Lipoprotein by Simvastatin. A Novel Mechanism of Action of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors

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Enhanced Cellular Metabolism of Very Low Density Lipoprotein by Simvastatin. A Novel Mechanism of Action of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors

E Sehayek et al. Eur J Clin Invest.

Abstract

To test the possibility that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors reduce LDL mass by an increased VLDL catabolism, we determined the effect of simvastatin therapy on cellular metabolism of VLDL in 18 patients with primary hypercholesterolaemia. Six months of simvastatin therapy was followed by 26%, 31% and 21% reduction of plasma total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and plasma triglyceride levels, respectively. Before therapy, patients' VLDL metabolism in cultured human normal skin fibroblasts was similar to control VLDL. Six months after therapy was initiated, a remarkable 2-5-fold increase in VLDL cell metabolism was found. These effects were even more marked when the VLDL was enriched with exogenous recombinant apo E-3. A comparison of the metabolism of the patients' VLDL to control VLDL and LDL, revealed that simvastatin increased metabolic ratios of 60-70% and 45-95%, respectively. Simvastatin therapy was associated with a decrease of VLDL cholesteryl ester content of 19% and increase of the phospholipid content of 13%. The data strongly indicate that simvastatin therapy stimulates VLDL: cell interactions and catabolism, possibly reflecting alterations of the physico-chemical properties of the particle. It is proposed that in addition to other previously described pathways, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors decrease LDL mass through a novel mechanism of enhanced VLDL catabolism prior to the conversion to LDL.

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