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Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Oct 1;58(7):1209-19.

Hypocholesterolemic effects of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors in the guinea pig: atorvastatin versus simvastatin.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Conneticut, Storrs 06269, USA.


Male Hartley guinea pigs were fed a hypercholesterolemic diet rich in lauric and myristic acids with 0, 10, or 20 mg/kg of simvastatin or atorvastatin for 21 days. Atorvastatin and simvastatin resulted in a lowering of plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in a dose-dependent manner by an average of 48 and 61% with 10 and 20 mg/kg, respectively. Both statins were equally effective in lowering plasma LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apo-B) levels. Atorvastatin and simvastatin treatments yielded LDL particles that differed in composition from the control. Due to the relevance of LDL oxidation and cholesteryl ester transfer in plasma to the progression of atherosclerosis, these parameters were analyzed after statin treatment. Atorvastatin and simvastatin treatment decreased the susceptibility of LDL particles to oxidation by 95% as determined by the formation of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances. An 80% decrease in the transfer of cholesteryl ester between high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the apo-B-containing lipoproteins was observed after simvastatin and atorvastatin treatment. In addition, statin effects on plasma LDL transport were studied. Simvastatin- and atorvastatin-treated guinea pigs exhibited 125 and 175% faster LDL fractional catabolic rates, respectively, compared with control animals. No change in LDL apo-B flux was induced by either treatment; however, LDL apo-B pool size was reduced after statin treatment. Hepatic microsomal free cholesterol was lower in the atorvastatin and simvastatin groups. However, only atorvastatin treatment resulted in an 80% decrease of acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase activity (P < 0.001). In summary, atorvastatin and simvastatin had similar LDL cholesterol lowering properties, but these drugs modified LDL transport and hepatic cholesterol metabolism differently.

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