The nephrotic syndrome is characterized by proteinuria, hypoalbuminemia, and hypercholesterolemia. Hypertriglyceridemia often is present as well. In this study, the kinetics of plasma lipoproteins were investigated in four patients with nephrotic hyperlipidemia, and repeat studies were carried out in three of these patients during therapy with lovastatin. Before lovastatin therapy, the patients had an extremely delayed catabolism of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) without evidence of overproduction of lipoproteins in this fraction. Three of four patients had elevated levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) that were due mainly to increased production rates for LDL. In the three patients treated with lovastatin, the drug therapy lowered plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, triglycerides, VLDL-cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol, and raised high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol. Lovastatin therapy decreased VLDL-triglycerides primarily by enhancing their catabolism, and lowered LDL-cholesterol levels mainly by reducing input rates for LDL. Overall, lovastatin appears to be an effective drug for the treatment of hyperlipidemia in the nephrotic syndrome.
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