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Effects of pravastatin treatment on lipoprotein subclass profiles and particle size in the PLAC-I trial

      Abstract

      Lipoprotein subclass analyses may facilitate coronary heart disease (CHD) risk stratification and provide insight into the cardioprotective benefits of statins (3-hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors). This study evaluated the influence of pravastatin on lipoprotein subclass profiles to determine whether subjects with predominantly large LDL (LDL size >20.5 nm) or small LDL (LDL size ≤20.5 nm) at baseline differ in responsiveness to drug treatment. Frozen plasma specimens were analyzed from a subset of participants in the Pravastatin Limitation of Atherosclerosis in the Coronaries (PLAC-I) trial at baseline and after treatment for 6 months with pravastatin (n=154) or placebo (n=138). Lipids were measured by standard chemical methods and lipoprotein subclasses by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Pravastatin-induced changes in lipid levels were similar in subjects with large or small LDL at baseline. Levels of the most abundant LDL subclass were preferentially lowered by pravastatin, resulting in an increase in average LDL size for those with a predominance of small LDL. High-risk CHD subjects with small LDL particles gain at least as much pharmacological benefit from pravastatin as those with large LDL, as evidenced by reductions in the numbers of total and small LDL particles, and increases in average LDL and HDL particle size.

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