Antidiabetic drugs and oxidized low-density lipoprotein: A review of anti-atherosclerotic mechanisms

Ali Ahmadi, Yunes Panahi, Thomas P. Johnston, Amirhossein Sahebkar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of mortality globally. Atherosclerosis is an important step towards different types of cardiovascular disease. The role of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis has been thoroughly investigated in recent years. Moreover, clinical trials have established that diabetic patients are at a greater risk of developing atherosclerotic plaques. Hence, we aimed to review the clinical and experimental impacts of various classes of antidiabetic drugs on the circulating levels of oxLDL. Metformin, pioglitazone, and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors were clinically associated with a suppressive effect on oxLDL in patients with impaired glucose tolerance. However, there is an insufficient number of studies that have clinically evaluated the relationship between oxLDL and newer agents such as agonists of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor or inhibitors of sodium-glucose transport protein 2. Next, we attempted to explore the multitude of mechanisms that antidiabetic agents exert to counter the undesirable effects of oxLDL in macrophages, endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells. In general, antidiabetic drugs decrease the uptake of oxLDL by vascular cells and reduce subsequent inflammatory signaling, which prevents macrophage adhesion and infiltration. Moreover, these agents suppress the oxLDL-induced transformation of macrophages into foam cells by either inhibiting oxLDL entrance, or by facilitating its efflux. Thus, the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-apoptotic properties of antidiabetic agents abrogate changes induced by oxLDL, which can be extremely beneficial in controlling atherosclerosis in diabetic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105819
JournalPharmacological Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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