Glucocorticoid therapy decreases serum lipoprotein(a) concentration in rheumatic diseases

Intern Med. 1993 May;32(5):382-6. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.32.382.


Lipoprotein(a) has been strongly suggested to be a risk factor for atherosclerosis. However, its metabolism and/or regulation by drug treatment still remain unknown. We therefore studied the effects of glucocorticoid therapy on serum lipoprotein(a) in rheumatic diseases. Although the glucocorticoid treatment increased the total serum cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations, it reduced the serum lipoprotein(a) concentration (mean, 40%) in a dose-dependent manner in 9 patients with rheumatic diseases without nephrotic syndrome. Similar results were observed in 2 patients who did have nephrotic syndrome. It is assumed that the increase of total cholesterol and apolipoprotein B in serum levels are atherogenic, whereas the increase of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and the decrease of lipoprotein(a) are protective for atherosclerosis. The clinical outcome of the concomitant results in lipid metabolism in the development of atherosclerosis remains to be studied.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoprotein(a) / blood
  • Lipoprotein(a) / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisolone / pharmacology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / blood
  • Rheumatic Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Lipids
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Prednisolone