BACKGROUND. Statins have pleiotropic effects on lipid metabolism. The relationship between these effects and future cardiovascular events is unknown. We characterized the changes in lipids upon pravastatin treatment and defined the relationship with risk reduction for future cardiovascular events.
METHODS. Plasma lipids (n = 342) were measured in baseline and 1-year follow-up samples from a Long-Term Intervention with Pravastatin in lschaemic Disease (LIPID) study subcohort (n = 4991). The associations of changes in lipids with treatment and cardiovascular outcomes were investigated using linear and Cox regression. The effect of treatment on future cardiovascular outcomes was examined by the relative risk reduction (RRR).
RESULTS. Pravastatin treatment was associated with changes in 206 lipids. Species containing arachidonic acid were positively associated while phosphatidylinositol species were negatively associated with pravastatin treatment. The RRR from pravastatin treatment for cardiovascular events decreased from 23.5% to 16.6% after adjustment for clinical risk factors and change in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and to 3.0% after further adjustment for the change in the lipid ratio PI(36:2)/PC(38:4). Change in PI(36:2)/PC(38:4) mediated 58% of the treatment effect. Stratification of patients into quartiles of change in PI(36:2)/PC(38:4) indicated no benefit of pravastatin in the fourth quartile.
CONCLUSION. The change in PI(36:2)/PC(38:4) predicted benefit from pravastatin, independent of change in LDL-C, demonstrating its potential as a biomarker for monitoring the clinical benefit of statin treatment in secondary prevention.