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Cardiovasc Res. 2001 Nov;52(2):290-8.

Both fenofibrate and atorvastatin improve vascular reactivity in combined hyperlipidaemia (fenofibrate versus atorvastatin trial--FAT).

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  • 1Third Department of Medicine, Charles University, First School of Medicine and General University Hospital, Unemocnice 1, 2, 128 08, Prague, Czech Republic. jmali@lf1.cuni.cz



It has been repeatedly proven that statins improve endothelial function in isolated hypercholesterolaemia but there is far less evidence in the case of combined hyperlipidaemia. Studies assessing the effects of fibrates on endothelium have been neglected. Therefore, we conducted a trial in which the effects of fenofibrate and atorvastatin monotherapy on both endothelium-dependent vascular reactivity and biochemical parameters were compared in patients with combined hyperlipidaemia.


29 otherwise healthy males (aged 47.4+/-7.8 years) with combined hyperlipidaemia (total cholesterol 7.55+/-1.20 mmol/l, triglycerides 5.41+/-4.54 mmol/l) were included into the randomised, single-blind, cross-over study to receive either 200 mg of micronised fenofibrate or 10 mg of atorvastatin daily--each of the drugs for a period of 10 weeks. Analysed biochemical parameters were as follows: serum total-, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, apolipoproteins A-I and B, triglycerides, fibrinogen, uric acid, C-reactive protein (CRP), insulin, and homocysteine. Endothelial function was investigated by duplex Doppler ultrasonography at the brachial artery. Two indices of endothelial-dependent postischaemic changes were used - the recently introduced index of peak blood flow (PBF) representing the level of reactive hyperaemia and traditional flow-mediated dilatation (FMD).


We observed a small improvement in FMD after both fenofibrate and atorvastatin (from 2.26% to 2.98% and 2.87%, respectively; NS). PBF increased from 448 ml/min to 536 ml/min after fenofibrate (P=0.04) and to 570 ml/min after atorvastatin (P=0.03). The effects of both fenofibrate and atorvastatin on endothelial function did not differ significantly (P-values of 0.82 and 0.47 for FMD and PBF, respectively). Significant correlations (P<0.01) between the changes of vascular reactivity and biochemical indices were found between FMD and CRP (r=-0.60) and between both FMD and PBF, and insulinaemia (r=-0.48 and -0.56, respectively) only during treatment with fenofibrate.


Both fenofibrate and atorvastatin significantly improved endothelium-dependent vascular reactivity without mutual difference. The PBF was superior to FMD for the detection of this improvement. The beneficial effect of both drugs did not correlate with the change of lipid profile during therapy. The improvement of vascular reactivity during treatment with fenofibrate (opposed to atorvastatin) was related to the reduction of indirect marker of chronic vessel wall inflammation and of insulin resistance. The PBF was more reproducible than FMD because of considerably lower intra-subject variability.

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