Research highlight: Investigating the metabolic effects of statins

Research Highlight: Würtz et al. Metabolomic Profiling of Statin Use and Genetic Inhibition of HMG-CoA Reductase. JACC 2016:67(10);1200-10 doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.12.060

Statins are first-line therapy for cardiovascular disease prevention, but their systemic effects across lipoprotein subclasses, fatty acids, and circulating metabolites remain incompletely characterized.

This paper describes the detailed metabolic effects of statin therapy on lipoprotein lipids and fatty acids. In addition to lowering LDL cholesterol, statins were found to effectively lower remnant cholesterol and many other lipid measures. Statins were further shown to have minimal or no side-effects on non-lipid metabolites. 

The concept of using genetic data to mimic the metabolic changes from a micro-dose of statins can be extended to study the detailed metabolic effects of new drug targets, even before they are tested in clinical trials. 

The study also exemplifies how metabolic profiling can clarify pharmacological mechanisms and uncover potential side-effects of known and novel drug targets.

This study is an example of Nightingale's NMR metabolomics platform being applied in CVD research. Nightingale's platform has been successfully applied to a wide range of research applications and has been featured in over 100 peer-reviewed studies, in leading biomedical journals. This study is a successful example of Nightingale NMR metabolomics platform being utilized to investigate drug target mechanism of action, using genetic variants as a proxy for therapy (Mendelian Randomization). Nightingale’s platform was used to quantify 80 lipid and low-molecular-weight metabolite measures.

Extra reading:

Open access to the full paper can be found here and supplementary results data can also be found here.