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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1988 Jun 15;960(3):294-302.

Preventive effect of pravastatin sodium, a potent inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, on coronary atherosclerosis and xanthoma in WHHL rabbits.

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Institute for Experimental Animals, Kobe University School of Medicine, Japan.


In this paper, we examined whether the development of atherosclerosis in the Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbit, an animal model of familial hypercholesterolemia in man, could be prevented by the reduction of serum cholesterol levels. Pravastatin sodium (the generic name of CS-514), a potent inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, was used as a cholesterol-lowering drug. The drug was administered orally to 12 WHHL rabbits (2-3 months old) at a dose of 50 mg/kg per day for 24 weeks, and 13 animals were given water as control. In the treated group, serum cholesterol, phospholipid and triacylglycerol levels were significantly reduced by 28%, 32% and 16%, respectively, as compared with those of the control group. Although the prevention of development of the aortic atherosclerosis was not significant, the progression of coronary atherosclerosis was significantly prevented. The incidence of atherosclerosis in four main coronary arteries was reduced from 42% (control group) to 19% (treated group, P less than 0.01), and the development of lesion of coronary arteries evaluated by area of lesion was reduced from 19.7% (control group) to 9.1% (treated group, P less than 0.05). Histopathological findings supported the above observations. In addition, development of xanthoma in digital joints was also reduced from 90.4% (control group) to 58.3% (treated group, P less than 0.005). These results suggest that the development of coronary atherosclerosis and xanthoma in WHHL rabbit was reduced by continuous reduction of serum cholesterol levels treated with pravastatin sodium.

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