Fenofibrate and LDL metabolic heterogeneity in hypercholesterolemia.
Metabolic heterogeneity in low density lipoprotein (LDL) may be detected by examination of the daily urinary excretion rate of radioactivity after injection of trace-labeled lipoprotein. Two distinct pools are observed within LDL. The first (pool A) is cleared rapidly from the plasma, whereas the second (pool B) is catabolized more slowly. In the present study we examined LDL metabolism in seven hypercholesterolemic subjects (six women and one man) before and during fenofibrate therapy. Comparison with normocholesterolemic individuals showed that the pretreatment high LDL levels in the hypercholesterolemic subjects resulted from an accumulation of apoprotein-LDL (apo-LDL) mass in pool B (2,077 +/- 174 mg versus 787 +/- 70 mg in normal subjects, p < 0.002). Pool A apo-LDL was present at normal levels (approximately 1,000 mg), although its fractional catabolic rate was reduced (0.39 +/- 0.06 versus 0.61 +/- 0.03 pool/day in normal subjects, p < 0.01). Fenofibrate therapy (100 mg t.i.d. for 8 weeks) produced substantial reductions in plasma cholesterol (29%; p < 0.001), triglycerides (36%; p < 0.001), and LDL cholesterol (30%; p < 0.001). The latter was associated with a 30% decrease in circulating apo-LDL mass (2,312 +/- 200 mg versus 3,279 +/- 264 mg before treatment, p < 0.005). This resulted from a combination of two effects. First, although overall LDL apoprotein B production did not change, there was a shift from pool B to pool A. Pool A input was 400 +/- 74 mg/day pretreatment versus 706 +/- 62 mg/day on fenofibrate; pool B input was 422 +/- 35 mg/day pretreatment versus 258 +/- 41 mg/day on the drug. At the same time, catabolism of pool A rose from 0.39 +/- 0.06 to 0.66 +/- 0.08 pool/day (p < 0.05). We hypothesize that the shift from pool B to pool A resulted from a drug-induced decrease in the particle size of very low density lipoprotein made by the liver, which in turn favored the formation of more rapidly catabolized LDL. Overall, the rate of apo-LDL degradation by the receptor route (as detected using a combination of native and 1,2-cyclohexanedione-modified LDL tracers) rose 43% on the drug, whereas the amount cleared by the receptor-independent pathway did not change. Fenofibrate, therefore, appears not only to promote LDL catabolism via the receptor-mediated pathway but also, by lowering plasma triglyceride levels, inhibits the formation of slowly metabolized, potentially atherogenic LDL particles.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association