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Eur J Pharmacol. 2001 Nov 23;431(3):345-52.

Squalene synthase inhibitors reduce plasma triglyceride through a low-density lipoprotein receptor-independent mechanism.

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Tsukuba Research Laboratories, Eisai Co. Ltd., Tokodai 5-1-3, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 300-2635, Japan.


Inhibitors of squalene synthase are considered to be candidate drugs to reduce both plasma cholesterol and triglyceride. However, little is known about the mechanism of squalene synthase inhibitor-specific effect on plasma triglyceride. In this study, we confirmed the triglyceride-lowering effect of ER-27856, a potent squalene synthase inhibitor prodrug, in rhesus monkeys. To determine the role of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor in the triglyceride-lowering effect of squalene synthase inhibitors, we intravenously administered ER-28448, the active form of ER-27856, to Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbits for 4 days. In heterozygotes, ER-28448 reduced plasma cholesterol and triglyceride by 52% and 37%, respectively. In homozygous rabbits, in contrast, ER-28448 lowered plasma triglyceride by 40% but did not lower plasma cholesterol. Orally administered ER-27856 reduced plasma triglyceride in homozygous animals but atorvastatin and bezafibrate did not. In hepatocytes isolated from homozygous WHHL rabbits, squalene synthase inhibitors but not atorvastatin reduced triglyceride biosynthesis. These data demonstrate that squalene synthase inhibitors reduced plasma triglyceride through an LDL receptor-independent mechanism, which was distinct from that of the triglyceride-lowering action of atorvastatin or bezafibrate. The reduction of hepatic triglyceride biosynthesis may play an important role in the hypotrigyceridemic action of squalene synthase inhibitors.

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