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Atherosclerosis. 1998 Apr;137(2):391-400.

Effects of a cardioselective beta-blocker on postprandial triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, low density lipoprotein particle size and glucose-insulin homeostasis in middle-aged men with modestly increased cardiovascular risk.

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Department of Emergency and Cardiovascular Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Beta-adrenergic receptor-blocking agents are commonly used for treatment of hypertension, angina pectoris and arrhythmias and as secondary prevention after myocardial infarction. The modest protection against myocardial infarction conferred by these compounds in primary-preventive studies has suggested that beneficial effects of beta-blockade are counteracted by known adverse influences on lipid and glucose metabolism. As most beta-blockers increase plasma triglycerides and decrease the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentration, a randomized, double-blind, cross-over study was conducted to evaluate whether a 12-week treatment with metoprolol (100 mg o.d.) or placebo affected the metabolism of postprandial triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in 15 middle-aged men with a modestly increased cardiovascular risk. Metoprolol treatment significantly increased the postprandial responses of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and VLDL remnants to a mixed meal-type of oral fat tolerance test. The effect was particularly prominent for larger (Svedberg flotation rate (Sf) > 400 and Sf 60-400) particle species (P < 0.001 in repeated measures ANOVA), whereas the smaller (Sf 20-60) particles were less affected (P < 0.05). The changes in the postprandial responses of the different VLDL species were mainly related to an effect on the fasting plasma concentrations, with limited or no influences on VLDL catabolism during the postprandial state. In contrast, metoprolol treatment did not significantly influence the postprandial responses of chylomicrons and chylomicron remnants. Notably, the enhanced fasting and postprandial triglyceridaemia during metoprolol treatment was neither accompanied by a rise in fasting or postprandial free fatty acid concentrations, nor by alterations of the glucose and insulin responses to a standard oral glucose challenge. The ensuing shift in the LDL particle size distribution towards smaller particles was limited (fraction small LDL: metoprolol 22.8 +/- 15.7% versus placebo 19.3 +/- 15.0%, P < 0.05). In conclusion, metoprolol treatment primarily enhances fasting and postprandial triglyceridaemia in middle-aged men by increasing the basal hepatic production of VLDL.

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