Objective: To investigate the effect of pitavastatin on asymptomatic atherosclerosis in patients with hypercholesterolemia.
Methods: Thirty-five outpatients with hypercholesterolemia (61.5±12.8 yr) were administered 2 mg oral pitavastatin daily for 6 months. Plasma pentraxin 3 (PTX3), a novel inflammatory marker of atherosclerosis, was measured together with the serum hsCRP and carotid-artery intima-media thickness (IMT).
Results: Significant improvement of the LDL-C/HDL-C and log (TG/HDL-C) ratios began to be observed from 1 month after using pitavastatin. Significant correlation of the initial PTX3 value was observed with the initial plaque score (PS) (p=0.038, r=0.246), but not between the hsCRP and plasma PTX3 or PS. When patients were divided into 3 groups based on the initial PTX3 values, a significant decrease of the plasma PTX3 was obtained in the highest PTX3 group alone (p=0.034). The change in the plasma PTX3 value (ΔPTX3) was significantly correlated with the Δ mean IMT during the study period (p=0.008, r=0.456).
Conclusion: Pitavastatin significantly reduced the elevated plasma levels of PTX3 in patients with hypercholesterolemia by its pleiotropic effect against atherosclerotic inflammation. This study showed for the first time that the plasma PTX3 might be a useful blood parameter for direct detection of active atherosclerotic change.