Indexed on: 21 Jul '04Published on: 21 Jul '04Published in: Circulation
Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is associated with hyperlipidemia, altered lipid regulatory enzymes and receptors, and increased risk of progressive renal and cardiovascular diseases. Acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) catalyzes intracellular esterification of cholesterol and plays an important role in production of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins, regulation of cholesterol-responsive proteins, and formation of foam cells. Because hepatic ACAT-2 is markedly upregulated in NS, we tested the hypothesis that inhibition of ACAT may improve cholesterol metabolism in NS.Rats with puromycin-induced NS were treated with either the ACAT inhibitor CI-976 or placebo for 2 weeks. Normal rats served as controls. Plasma lipids, renal function, and key lipid regulatory factors were measured. Untreated NS rats showed heavy proteinuria; hypoalbuminemia; elevated plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, VLDL, and total cholesterol-to-HDL cholesterol ratio; increased hepatic ACAT activity, ACAT-2 mRNA, and ACAT-2 protein; and reduced LDL receptor, HDL receptor, otherwise known as scavenger receptor B-1 (SRB-1) and plasma lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT). ACAT inhibitor reduced plasma cholesterol and triglycerides, normalized total cholesterol-to-HDL cholesterol ratio, and lowered hepatic ACAT activity without changing ACAT-2 mRNA or protein. This was accompanied by near normalizations of plasma LCAT, hepatic SRB-1, and LDL receptor and a significant amelioration of proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia.Pharmacological inhibition of ACAT reverses NS-induced LDL receptor, HDL receptor, and LCAT deficiencies; improves plasma lipid profile; and ameliorates proteinuria in nephrotic animals. Further studies are needed to explore the effect of ACAT inhibition in nephrotic humans.