Purpose of review
Despite indisputable role of LDL-C lowering, a considerable residual risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) persists. The precise mechanism(s) underlying this phenomenon remain unclear. Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRL) appear to be one of the main mediators, based on the genetic and epidemiologic data. However, whether this is caused by direct effects of Triglycerides or other components of TRL remains uncertain. The cholesterol component of TRL remnants (Rem-C) has been proposed as a more pertinent mediator of the increased risk associated with high triglycerides.
Several long-term observational studies have shown a significant relationship between Rem-C and ASCVD events, compared with other triglyceride-related parameters. Recent trials have shown that lowering of triglyceride levels by various agents, including fibrates and omega-3 fatty acids, in statin-treated subjects, did not explain the reduction in ASCVD events. In a large clinical trial with pemafibrate, a highly selective PPAR-α agonist, in type 2 diabetes and elevated triglycerides, the reduction in triglycerides was accompanied by a significant increase in LDL-C and Apo-B levels, despite a reduction in Rem-C, and no effect on ASCVD events.
Elevated Rem-C as a risk determinant, with LDL-C at goal, requires additional studies in clinical trials. Standardization and accuracy of Rem-C assays (calculated versus direct method) is also needed.