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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2008 Apr-May;78(4-5):271-80. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2008.03.003. Epub 2008 May 23.

Hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia: effects of drug treatment on fatty acid composition of plasma lipids and membranes.

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Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, McClellan VA Hospital, 4301 W Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.


The effect of atorvastatin, simvastatin and gemfibrozil on fatty acid composition of plasma phospholipids (PL), cholesterol esters (CE), triglycerides (TG) and red cell membrane ghosts (G) has been determined in appropriate sample populations of individuals with hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) or hypercholesterolemia (HCHL). Treatments were appropriate for the condition, gemfibrozil for HTG and a statin for HCHL. Modifications depend on the drug and lipid fraction examined. Both classes of drugs modify fatty acid composition but gemfibrozil modifications are more numerous and dramatic than are the modifications by statins. Gemfibrozil produces major modifications in fatty acid composition, which are both fatty acid and lipid class specific but generally decreases SFA and increases PUFA (mainly n6) and increases the proportion of fatty acids with chain length of 18C or more. Statins tend to increase chain length but have less effect on saturation. Notably, all three drugs increased arachidonic acid (AA) in PL and CE. Statins decreased gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) in PL and CE but gemfibrozil only increased GLA in TG.

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