Purpose of review: The reduction in cardiovascular disease risk by statins is well established. This risk reduction has mostly been attributed to decreases in plasma LDL cholesterol and other pleiotropic effects of statins. Emerging evidence indicates that statins exert multiple effects on lipoprotein metabolism, including chylomicrons and HDLs.
Recent findings: Kinetic and in-vitro studies have documented that the effects of statins on the metabolism of different lipoproteins are for the most part the direct consequence of cholesterol biosynthesis inhibition and the subsequent change in transcription factors and cell signaling, regulating different aspects of lipoprotein metabolism. Differences in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics among statins lead to diverse biological outcomes.
Summary: The current review summarizes recent experimental evidence highlighting the different effects of statins on cellular pathways regulating gene expression. Understanding the basic mechanisms by which different statins regulate lipoprotein metabolism will lead to improved strategies for the prevention and treatment of specific lipoprotein disorders.