Background Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) is a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle containing apolipoprotein(a) (apo(a)) covalently linked to apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB). Statin-treated patients with elevated Lp(a) have an increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Recent trials show that proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibition decreases Lp(a) and cardiovascular events, particularly in high risk patients with elevated Lp(a). We investigated the kinetic mechanism whereby alirocumab, a PCSK9 inhibitor, lowers Lp(a) in statin-treated patients with high Lp(a) and ASCVD. Methods The effects of 12-week alirocumab treatment (150 mg every 2 weeks) on apo(a) kinetics were studied in 21 patients with elevated Lp(a) concentration (>0.5 g/L). Apo(a) fractional catabolic rate (FCR) and production rate (PR) were determined using intravenous D3-leucine administration, mass spectrometry and compartmental modelling. All patients were on long-term statin treatment. Results Alirocumab significantly decreased plasma concentrations of total cholesterol (-39%), LDL-cholesterol (-67%), apoB (-56%), apo(a) (-25%) and Lp(a) (-22%) (P< 0.001 for all). Alirocumab also significantly lowered plasma apo(a) pool size (-26%, P <0.001) and increased the FCR of apo(a) (+28%, P< 0.001), but did not alter apo(a) PR, which remained significantly higher relative to a reference group of patients on statins with normal Lp(a) (P< 0.001). Conclusions In statin-treated patients, alirocumab lowers elevated plasma Lp(a) concentrations by accelerating the catabolism of Lp(a) particles. This may be consequent on marked upregulation of hepatic receptors (principally for LDL) and/or reduced competition between Lp(a) and LDL particles for these receptors; the mechanism could contribute to the benefit of PCSK9 inhibition with alirocumab on cardiovascular outcomes.
Watts, G. F., Chan, D. C., Pang, J., Ma, L., Ying, Q., Aggarwal, S., Marcovina, S. M., & Barrett, P. H. R. (2020). PCSK9 Inhibition with alirocumab increases the catabolism of lipoprotein(a) particles in statin-treated patients with elevated lipoprotein(a). Metabolism, 107, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2020.154221