AIM: To investigate the effect of rosuvastatin monotherapy on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). At present there is no effective treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or its advanced form NASH.
METHODS: This prospective study included 20 biopsy proven patients with NASH, metabolic syndrome (MetS) and dyslipidaemia. Biochemical parameters of the blood of the patients and an ultrasonography of the liver were performed at baseline. Then patients received lifestyle advice and were treated for a 12 mo period with rosuvastatin (10 mg/d) monotherapy. Patients were re-evaluated during the study at 3 mo intervals, during which biochemical parameters of the blood were measured including liver enzymes. A repeat biopsy and ultrasonography of the liver were performed at the end of the study in all 20 patients. Changes in liver enzymes, fasting plasma glucose, serum creatinine, serum uric acid (SUA), high sensitivity C reactive protein (hsCRP) and lipid profile were assessed every 3 mo. The primary endpoint was the resolution of NASH and the secondary endpoints were the changes in liver enzyme and lipid values.
RESULTS: The repeat liver biopsy and ultrasonography showed complete resolution of NASH in 19 patients, while the 20th, which had no improvement but no deterioration either, developed arterial hypertension and substantial rise in triglyceride levels during the study, probably due to changes in lifestyle including alcohol abuse. Serum alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were normalised by the 3rd treatment month (ANOVA P < 0.001), while alkaline phosphatase activities by the 6th treatment month (ANOVA, P = 0.01). Fasting plasma glucose and glycated haemoglobin were significantly reduced (P < 0.001). Lipid values were normalised by the 3rd treatment month. No patient had MetS by the 9th treatment month. Body mass index and waist circumference remained unchanged during the study. Thus, changes in liver pathology and function should be attributed solely to rosuvastatin treatment. A limitation of the study is the absence of a control group.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that rosuvastatin monotherapy could ameliorate biopsy proven NASH and resolve MetS within 12 mo. These effects and the reduction of fasting plasma glucose and SUA levels may reduce the risk of vascular and liver morbidity and mortality in NASH patients. These findings need confirmation in larger studies.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; Metabolic syndrome; Dyslipidaemia; Rosuvastatin; Fasting blood glucose; Serum uric acid
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is considered to be an independent cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor. However, simple steatosis has a benign clinical course without excess mortality. In contrast, the advanced form of NAFLD, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with liver fibrosis increases mortality by approximately 70%, due to an increase in CVD mortality by approximately 300%. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) may be caused by NAFLD/NASH and it substantially increases CVD risk, especially in the presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Moreover, CKD may trigger NAFLD/NASH deterioration in a vicious cycle. NAFLD/NASH is also related to increased arterial stiffness (AS), an independent CVD risk factor that further raises CVD risk. Diagnosis of advanced liver fibrosis (mainly by simple non-invasive tests), CKD, and increased AS should be made early in the course of NAFLD and treated appropriately. Lifestyle measures and statin treatment may help resolve NAFLD/NASH and beneficially affect the CVD risk factors mentioned above.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; Cardiovascular disease; Liver fibrosis; Statins; Chronic kidney disease; Arterial stiffness; Inflammation
The effect of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention measures aimed at elderly patients requires further evidence. We investigated the effect of statin treatment (targeted to achieve guideline goals) on CVD outcomes in different age groups to determine whether statins are more beneficial in the elderly.
Material and methods
The primary endpoint of this post hoc analysis of the GREek Atorvastatin and Coronary-heart-disease Evaluation (GREACE) study (n = 1,600 patients with established coronary heart disease (CHD), mean follow-up 3 years) was the absolute and relative CVD event (a composite of death, myocardial infarction, revascularization, unstable angina, heart failure and stroke) risk reduction in age quartiles (each n = 200). Patients on “structured care” with atorvastatin (n = 800) followed up by the university clinic and treated to lipid goal were compared with the corresponding quartiles on “usual care” (n = 800) followed up by specialists or general practitioners of the patient's choice outside the hospital.
In the elderly (mean age 69 ±4 and 70 ±3 years in the “structured” and “usual care”, respectively) the absolute CVD event reduction between “structured” and “usual care” was 16.5% (p < 0.0001), while in the younger patients (mean age 51 ±3 years and 52 ±3 years in the “structured” and “usual care”, respectively) this was 8.5% (p = 0.016); relative risk reduction (RRR) 60% (p < 0.0001) vs. 42% respectively (p = 0.001). The elderly had higher rates of chronic kidney disease and higher uric acid levels, plus an increased prevalence of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. These factors might contribute to the increased CVD risk in older patients.
All age groups benefited from statin treatment, but the elderly on “structured care” had a greater absolute and relative CVD risk reduction than the younger patients when compared with the corresponding patients assigned to “usual care”. These findings suggest that we should not deprive older patients of CVD prevention treatment and lipid target achievement.
cardiovascular disease; age; statin; chronic kidney disease; GREek Atorvastatin and Coronary-heart-disease Evaluation
The short-term effects of multifactorial intervention for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention on renal function and serum uric acid (SUA) levels in patients with stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD) and multiple CVD risk factors are unclear. The aim of the study was to prospectively assess these effects.
Material and methods
This post hoc analysis of 5 "best practice" studies involved patients with multiple CVD risk factors. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was assessed using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) formula. Among the 4,153 patients, 1,235 (29.7%) had stage 3 CKD (eGFR between 30 and 59 ml/min/1.73 m2). A baseline visit was followed by a concerted effort from previously trained physicians to improve adherence to lifestyle advice and optimize drug treatment, including a statin, for all vascular risk factors. After 6 months eGFR and SUA levels were re-evaluated.
The intervention improved compliance to lifestyle measures and increased the use of evidence-based medication, including a statin. There was also a 5.6% increase in eGFR (p < 0.001) in patients with stage 3 CKD and a 6.1% reduction in SUA levels (p < 0.001). Among patients with stage 3 CKD, 127 (10.3%) improved to stage 2 CKD and 9 (0.7%) advanced to stage 4 CKD by the end of the 6-month study period. There were no major side-effects.
Multitargeted intervention, including a statin, may improve renal function and reduce SUA levels within 6 months, thus offsetting 2 potential CVD risk factors in high-risk patients.
renal function; uric acid; dyslipidaemia; diabetes mellitus; hypertension; metabolic syndrome; multifactorial intervention; statin
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is common in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and related clinical outcomes are worse compared with non-diabetics. The optimal treatment in diabetic patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) is currently not established. We searched MEDLINE (1975-2010) using the key terms diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, revascularization, coronary artery bypass, angioplasty, coronary intervention and medical treatment. Most studies comparing different revascularization procedures in patients with CHD favoured coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery in patients with DM. However, most of this evidence comes from subgroup analyses. Recent evidence suggests that advanced percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) techniques along with best medical treatment may be non-inferior and more cost-effective compared with CABG. Treatment of vascular risk factors is a key option in terms of improving CVD outcomes in diabetic patients with CHD. The choice between medical therapy and revascularization warrants further assessment.
diabetes; coronary heart disease; acute coronary syndrome; coronary artery bypass graft; percutaneous coronary intervention; statin
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome (MetS), is common and accounts for 80% of cases of elevated liver function tests (LFTs). We assessed the long-term effects of multifactorial intervention on LFTs and their association with cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in patients with MetS without diabetes mellitus or CVD.
Material and methods
This prospective, randomized, open label study included 1,123 patients (aged 45-65 years). Patients received intensive lifestyle intervention and pharmacotherapy: atorvastatin in all patients (low density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C] targets of<100 mg/dl [group A] or<130 mg/dl [group B]), inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis for hypertension, metformin for dysglycaemia and orlistat for obesity.
Among participants, 326 had modestly elevated LFTs and ultrasonographic (US) evidence of NAFLD (165 patients in group A2 and 161 patients in group B2). The NAFLD resolved during the 42-month treatment period in 86% of patients in group A2 and in 74% of patients in group B2 (p<0.001). In both groups nearly 90% of patients attained lipid goals. Mean LDL-C and TG levels were higher in group B2 than in group A2 (p<0.001). There were no CVD events in group A2 whereas 5 non-fatal events occurred in group B2 (log-rank-p = 0.024). There were no major side-effects.
Attaining multiple treatment targets is safe and beneficial in primary prevention patients with MetS and NAFLD. Lipid levels and LFTs normalized, US findings associated with NAFLD resolved and no CVD events occurred in patients with LDL-C levels<100 mg/dl (group A2). Resolution of NAFLD might have contributed to the prevention of CVD events.
non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; metabolic syndrome; multifactorial treatment; atorvastatin; cardiovascular disease
The impact of statin therapy on plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) levels has not been conclusively studied. Therefore the aim of the meta-analysis was to assess the effect of statins on circulating ADMA levels. We searched selected databases (up to August 2014) to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigate the effect of statins on plasma ADMA concentrations. A weighted meta-regression (WMD) using unrestricted maximum likelihood model was performed to assess the impact of statin dose, duration of statin therapy and baseline ADMA concentrations as potential variables on the WMD between statin and placebo group. In total, 1134 participants in 9 selected RCTs were randomized; 568 were allocated to statin treatment and 566 were controls. There was a significant reduction in plasma ADMA concentrations following statin therapy compared with placebo (WMD: − 0.104 μM, 95% confidence interval: − 0.131 to − 0.077, Z = − 7.577, p < 0.0001). Subgroups analysis has shown a significant impact of hydrophilic statins (WMD: − 0.207 μM, 95%CI: − 0.427 to + 0.013, Z = − 7.250, p < .0001) and a non-significant effect of hydrophobic statins (WMD: − 0.101 μM, 95%CI: − 0.128 to − 0.074, Z = − 1.845, p = 0.065). In conclusion, this meta-analysis of available RCTs showed a significant reduction in plasma ADMA concentrations following therapy with hydrophilic statins.
Statins are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in clinical practice. They are usually well tolerated and effectively prevent cardiovascular events. Most adverse effects associated with statin therapy are muscle-related. The recent statement of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) has focused on statin associated muscle symptoms (SAMS), and avoided the use of the term ‘statin intolerance’. Although muscle syndromes are the most common adverse effects observed after statin therapy, excluding other side effects might underestimate the number of patients with statin intolerance, which might be observed in 10–15% of patients. In clinical practice, statin intolerance limits effective treatment of patients at risk of, or with, cardiovascular disease. Knowledge of the most common adverse effects of statin therapy that might cause statin intolerance and the clear definition of this phenomenon is crucial to effectively treat patients with lipid disorders. Therefore, the aim of this position paper was to suggest a unified definition of statin intolerance, and to complement the recent EAS statement on SAMS, where the pathophysiology, diagnosis and the management were comprehensively presented.
definition; muscle symptoms; risk factors; statin intolerance
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) defines impaired fasting glucose (IFG) as fasting plasma glucose concentration of 100–125 mg/dl, whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) define IFG as fasting plasma glucose levels of 110–125 mg/dl. We identified differences in metabolic parameters and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk according to the ADA or WHO/IDF definition of IFG.
Material and methods
Healthy drug-naive Caucasian (Greek) subjects (n = 396; age 55 ±12 years) participated in this cross-sectional study.
Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and uric acid levels were higher in the subjects with glucose 100–109 mg/dl compared with those with glucose < 100 mg/dl (87 ±9 mm Hg vs. 84 ±11 mm Hg, p = 0.004 for DBP, 5.6 ±1.5 mg/dl vs. 5.0 ±1.0 mg/dl, p = 0.002 for uric acid), whereas triglyceride levels were lower in subjects with glucose 100–109 mg/dl compared with those with glucose ≥ 110 mg/dl (169 mg/dl (interquartile range (IQR) = 102–186) vs. 186 mg/dl (IQR = 115–242), p = 0.002). Only the ADA definition recognized subjects with significantly increased 10-year CVD risk estimation (SCORE risk calculation) compared with their respective controls (5.4% (IQR = 0.9–7.3) vs. 4.1% (IQR = 0.7–5.8), p = 0.002).
The ADA IFG definition recognized more subjects with significantly increased CVD risk (SCORE model) compared with the WHO/IDF definition.
prediabetes; impaired fasting glucose; American Diabetes Association; World Health Organization; cardiovascular risk; triglycerides
We assessed the influence of atorvastatin on selected indicators of an inflammatory condition, left ventricular function, hospitalizations and mortality in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
We included 68 DCM patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤40% treated optimally in a prospective, randomized study. They were observed for 5 years. Patients were divided into two groups: patients who were commenced on atorvastatin 40 mg daily for two months followed by an individually matched dose of 10 or 20 mg/day (group A), and patients who were treated according to current recommendations without statin therapy (group B).
After 5-year follow-up we assessed 45 patients of mean age 59 ± 11 years - 22 patients in group A (77% male) and 23 patients in group B (82% male). Interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and uric acid concentrations were significantly lower in the statin group than in group B (14.96 ± 4.76 vs. 19.02 ± 3.94 pg/ml, p = 0.012; 19.10 ± 6.39 vs. 27.53 ± 7.39 pg/ml, p = 0.001, and 5.28 ± 0.48 vs. 6.53 ± 0.46 mg/dl, p = 0.001, respectively). In patients on statin therapy a reduction of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide concentration (from 1425.28 ± 1264.48 to 1098.01 ± 1483.86 pg/ml, p = 0.045), decrease in left ventricular diastolic (from 7.15 ± 0.90 to 6.67 ± 0.88 cm, p = 0.001) and systolic diameters (from 5.87 ± 0.92 to 5.17 ± 0.97, p = 0.001) in comparison to initial values were observed. We also showed the significant increase of LVEF in patients after statin therapy (from 32.0 ± 6.4 to 38.8 ± 8.8%, p = 0.016). Based on a comparison of curves using the log-rank test, the probability of survival to 5 years was significantly higher in patients receiving statins (p = 0.005).
Atorvastatin in a small dose significantly reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines and uric acid, improve hemodynamic parameters and improve 5-year survival in patients with DCM.
Atorvastatin; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Heart failure; Inflammation
Curcumin exhibits anti-diabetic activities, induces heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and is an inhibitor of transcriptional co-activator p300. A novel water soluble curcumin derivative (NCD) has been developed to overcome low invivo bioavailability of curcumin. We evaluated the effect of the NCD on signaling mechanisms involved in cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and studied whether its action is mediated via inducible HO-1.
Materials and methods
Rats were divided into controls, controls receiving NCD, diabetic, diabetic receiving NCD, diabetic receiving pure curcumin, diabetic receiving HO inhibitor, zinc protoporphyrin IX (ZnPP IX) and diabetic receiving NCD and ZnPP IX. NCD and curcumin were given orally. After 45 days, cardiac physiologic parameters, plasma glucose, insulin, glycated hemoglobin (GHb), HO-1 gene expression and HO activity in pancreas and cardiac tissues were assessed. Gene expression of p300, atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2A and MEF2C) were studied.
NCD and curcumin decreased plasma glucose, GHb and increased insulin levels significantly in diabetic rats. This action may be partially mediated by induction of HO-1 gene. HO-1 gene expression and HO activity were significantly increased in diabetic heart and pancreas. Diabetes upregulated the expression of ANP, MEF2A, MEF2C and p300. NCD and curcumin prevented diabetes-induced upregulation of these parameters and improved left ventricular function. The effect of the NCD was better than the same dose of curcumin.
Curcumin; Diabetes type I; Heme-oxygenase-I; Diabetic cardiomyopathy; p300
Small, dense low density lipoprotein (sdLDL) represents an emerging cardiovascular risk factor, since these particles can be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) independently of established risk factors, including plasma lipids. Obese subjects frequently have atherogenic dyslipidaemia, including elevated sdLDL levels, in addition to elevated triglycerides (TG), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and apolipoprotein-B, as well as decreased high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Obesity-related co-morbidities, such as metabolic syndrome (MetS) are also characterized by dyslipidaemia. Therefore, agents that favourably modulate LDL subclasses may be of clinical value in these subjects. Statins are the lipid-lowering drug of choice. Also, anti-obesity and lipid lowering drugs other than statins could be useful in these patients. However, the effects of anti-obesity drugs on CVD risk factors remain unclear. We review the clinical significance of sdLDL in being overweight and obesity, as well as the efficacy of anti-obesity drugs on LDL subfractions in these individuals; a short comment on HDL subclasses is also included. Our literature search was based on PubMed and Scopus listings. Further research is required to fully explore both the significance of sdLDL and the efficacy of anti-obesity drugs on LDL subfractions in being overweight, obesity and MetS. Improving the lipoprotein profile in these patients may represent an efficient approach for reducing cardiovascular risk.
lipoproteins; small dense low density lipoprotein; obesity; metabolic syndrome; obesity treatment; anti-obesity drugs; lipid-lowering drugs
A diet rich in fat is associated with hepatic fat deposition [steatosis; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)]. The exact cause of NAFLD however, is still unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a water-soluble formulation of vitamin E on a dietary-induced-NAFLD animal model.
Adult male Wistar rats (n=20) were allocated to 2 groups: Controls (Group A, n=6), which received a standard chow diet for 24 weeks and a High Cholesterol group (HC: n=14), which received a standard chow diet enriched with cholesterol for the first 14 weeks of the experiment (t1). At t1, the HC group was divided into: Group HC(B), which received a high-saturated-fat/high-cholesterol (HSF/HCH) diet and Group HC(C), which followed the same HSF/HCH diet but was also administered water soluble vitamin E (10 IU/kg body weight/day), for 10 more weeks.
At the end of the study, group HC(C) exhibited significantly lower mean total cholesterol (T-CHOL) than group HC(B) (p<0.001). No significant differences were observed between HC(C) and Control groups in blood glucose and serum lipid concentrations. Liver Function Tests did not vary between all groups at the end of the study. Animals in group HC(B) exhibited higher SGOT at the end of the study compared with the beginning of the study (p<0.05). Group HC(B) exhibited the highest scores in steatosis, and grading (according to the NAFLD scoring system) in the histopathological analysis (p≤0.001 in all cases).
Vitamin E seems to exert a hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective role in the presence of a HSF/HCH atherogenic diet in a rat model.
Cholesterol; High saturated fat diet; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Steatosis; Vitamin E; Wistar rats.
We used prospective cohort data of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) to compare their management on weekdays/mornings with weekends/nights, and the possible impact of this on 1-month and 1-year mortality. Analyses were evaluated using univariate and multivariate statistics. Of the 4,616 patients admitted to hospitals with ACS, 76% were on weekdays. There were no significant differences in 1-month (odds ratio (OR), 0.88; 95% CI: 0.68-1.14) and 1-year mortality (OR, 0.88; 95% CI: 0.70-1.10), respectively, between weekday and weekend admissions. Similarly, there were no significant differences in 1-month (OR, 0.92; 95% CI: 0.73-1.15) and 1-year mortality (OR, 0.98; 95% CI: 0.80-1.20), respectively, between nights and day admissions. In conclusion, apart from lower utilization of angiography (P < .001) at weekends, there were largely no significant discrepancies in the management and care of patients admitted with ACS on weekdays and during morning hours compared with patients admitted on weekends and night hours, and the overall 30-day and 1-year mortality was similar between both the cohorts.
Acute coronary syndrome; Weekend; Weekday; Mortality; Admission.
This is a case report that describes a 67-year-old woman with mixed hyperlipidemia and diabetic nephropathy. She was initially prescribed a combination of simvastatin plus gemfibrozil by her general practitioner (GP). When referred to our cardiovascular unit, we further diagnosed the patient to have mixed hyperlipidemia and rhabdomyolysis. Because of concerns with her chronic kidney disease (CKD), we temporarily stopped all her drug treatments and started insulin treatment for her type 2 diabetes (T2D). A month later when her T2D was stabilised, we prescribed atorvastatin and an omega-3 fatty acid ethyl ester supplement to treat her hypertriglyceridemia. Within two months her blood lipids were within the recommended range. In patients with stage 3–5 CKD, it is not advisable to prescribe the fibrate gemfibrozil, particularly in combination with a statin that is metabolised predominantly in the kidneys. To minimise adverse events without compromise on efficacy, we used a combination of omega-3 fatty acid ethyl esters, which are not metabolised in the kidneys, with a statin that is minimally metabolised in the kidneys for the treatment of her hyperlipidemia.
Hypertriglyceridemia; statin; omega-3 fatty acid ethyl esters; type 2 diabetes.
Obesity is a multifactorial disease. Among its causes are physical inactivity and overeating. In addition, other factors may play an important role in the development of overweight/obesity. For example, certain hormones including leptin, insulin and ghrelin, may influence appetite and consequently body weight. Obesity frequently co-exists with metabolic disorders including dyslipidemia, hypertension and insulin resistance, thus constituting the metabolic syndrome which is characterized by increased cardiovascular risk.
Lack of comprehensive knowledge on obesity-related issues makes both prevention and treatment difficult. This review considers the psychobiological and neuroendocrine mechanisms of appetite and food intake. Whether these factors, in terms of obesity prevention and treatment, will prove to be relevant in clinical practice (including reducing the cardiovas-cular risk associated with obesity) remains to be established.
Obesity; appetite; psychobiology; neuroendocrine mechanisms; leptin; insulin; ghrelin; cardiovascular risk.