2015 Volume 22 Issue 3 Pages 221-230
Coronary artery disease (CAD) due to obstructive atherosclerosis is a leading cause of death and has been recognized as a worldwide health threat. Measures to decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels are the cornerstone in the management of patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, particularly those with CAD, for over two decades. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), a newly recognized protein, plays a key role in cholesterol homeostasis by enhancing degradation of hepatic LDL receptor (LDLR). Interestingly, PCSK9 is also involved in the inflammatory process. Plasma PCSK9 and lipid or nonlipid cardiovascular risk factors are correlated, and the associations between PCSK9 with cardiovascular health and disease make this protein worthy of attention for the treatment of hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. Here, we provide an overview of the physiological role of PCSK9, which contributes to atherosclerosis, and provide data on PCSK9 as a novel pharmacological target. Clinical evidence shows that PCSK9 inhibition is as promising as statins as a target to treat CAD. The efficacy of these drugs may potentially enable effective CAD prophylaxis for more patients.