ABSTRACT: The atheroprotective role of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in cardiovascular disease has been unequivocally established, and epidemiological data have clearly demonstrated a strong inverse relationship between HDL-C levels and the risk of cardiovascular events, which is independent of the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. Thus, it would be logical to hypothesize that raising HDL-C might potentially lead to a reduction of cardiovascular risk. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) promotes the transfer of cholesteryl esters from HDL to very low-density lipoprotein and LDL. Therefore, CETP inhibition raises HDL-C levels and decreases LDL-C levels. The first trials with CETP inhibitors failed to show a reduction in cardiovascular events. However, newer CETP inhibitors with more favorable effects on lipids are presently being tested in clinical trials with the hope that their use may lead to a reduction in cardiovascular risk. This review aims to provide the current evidence regarding CETP inhibition, as well as the clinical and scientific data pertaining to the new CETP inhibitors in development.
Project description:Subnormal plasma levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) constitute a major cardiovascular risk factor; raising low HDL-C levels may therefore reduce the residual cardiovascular risk that frequently presents in dyslipidaemic subjects despite statin therapy. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), a key modulator not only of the intravascular metabolism of HDL and apolipoprotein (apo) A-I but also of triglyceride (TG)-rich particles and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), mediates the transfer of cholesteryl esters from HDL to pro-atherogenic apoB-lipoproteins, with heterotransfer of TG mainly from very low-density lipoprotein to HDL. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity is elevated in the dyslipidaemias of metabolic disease involving insulin resistance and moderate to marked hypertriglyceridaemia, and is intimately associated with premature atherosclerosis and high cardiovascular risk. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibition therefore presents a preferential target for elevation of HDL-C and reduction in atherosclerosis. This review appraises recent evidence for a central role of CETP in the action of current lipid-modulating agents with HDL-raising potential, i.e. statins, fibrates, and niacin, and compares their mechanisms of action with those of pharmacological agents under development which directly inhibit CETP. New CETP inhibitors, such as dalcetrapib and anacetrapib, are targeted to normalize HDL/apoA-I levels and anti-atherogenic activities of HDL particles. Further studies of these CETP inhibitors, in particular in long-term, large-scale outcome trials, will provide essential information on their safety and efficacy in reducing residual cardiovascular risk.
Project description:Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors are a new class of therapeutics for dyslipidemia that simultaneously improve two major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors: elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying their efficacy are poorly understood, as are any potential mechanistic differences among the drugs in this class. Herein, we used electron microscopy (EM) to investigate the effects of three of these agents (Torcetrapib, Dalcetrapib and Anacetrapib) on CETP structure, CETP-lipoprotein complex formation and CETP-mediated cholesteryl ester (CE) transfer. We found that although none of these inhibitors altered the structure of CETP or the conformation of CETP-lipoprotein binary complexes, all inhibitors, especially Torcetrapib and Anacetrapib, increased the binding ratios of the binary complexes (e.g., HDL-CETP and LDL-CETP) and decreased the binding ratios of the HDL-CETP-LDL ternary complexes. The findings of more binary complexes and fewer ternary complexes reflect a new mechanism of inhibition: one distal end of CETP bound to the first lipoprotein would trigger a conformational change at the other distal end, thus resulting in a decreased binding ratio to the second lipoprotein and a degraded CE transfer rate among lipoproteins. Thus, we suggest a new inhibitor design that should decrease the formation of both binary and ternary complexes. Decreased concentrations of the binary complex may prevent the inhibitor was induced into cell by the tight binding of binary complexes during lipoprotein metabolism in the treatment of CVD.
Project description:According to the current dogma, cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) decreases high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol (C) and increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-C. However, detailed insight into the effects of CETP on lipoprotein subclasses is lacking. Therefore, we used a Mendelian randomization approach based on a genetic score for serum CETP concentration (rs247616, rs12720922 and rs1968905) to estimate causal effects per unit (µg/mL) increase in CETP on 159 standardized metabolic biomarkers, primarily lipoprotein subclasses. Metabolic biomarkers were measured by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in 5672 participants of the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study. Higher CETP concentrations were associated with less large HDL (largest effect XL-HDL-C, P?=?6?×?10-22) and more small VLDL components (largest effect S-VLDL cholesteryl esters, P?=?6?×?10-6). No causal effects were observed with LDL subclasses. All these effects were replicated in an independent cohort from European ancestry (MAGNETIC NMR GWAS; n ~20,000). Additionally, we assessed observational associations between ELISA-measured CETP concentration and metabolic measures. In contrast to results from Mendelian randomization, observationally, CETP concentration predominantly associated with more VLDL, IDL and LDL components. Our results show that CETP is an important causal determinant of HDL and VLDL concentration and composition, which may imply that the CETP inhibitor anacetrapib decreased cardiovascular disease risk through specific reduction of small VLDL rather than LDL. The contrast between genetic and observational associations might be explained by a high capacity of VLDL, IDL and LDL subclasses to carry CETP, thereby concealing causal effects on HDL.
Project description:Evacetrapib is a novel cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor currently being evaluated in a late-stage cardiovascular outcome trial. Using population-based models, we analyzed evacetrapib concentration data along with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) data from a 12-week study in dyslipidemic patients treated with evacetrapib alone or in combination with atorvastatin, simvastatin, or rosuvastatin. Evacetrapib pharmacokinetics were characterized using a two-compartment model with first-order absorption. Evacetrapib exposure increased in a less than dose-proportional manner, similar to other CETP inhibitors. No patient factors had a clinically relevant impact on evacetrapib pharmacokinetics. The relationships between evacetrapib exposure and HDL-C and LDL-C were characterized using Emax models. The theoretical maximal mean HDL-C increase and LDL-C decrease relative to baseline were 177 and 44.1%, respectively. HDL-C change from baseline was found to be negatively correlated with baseline HDL-C. A pharmacologically independent LDL-C reduction was found when evacetrapib was coadministered with statins.CPT Pharmacometrics Syst. Pharmacol. (2014) 3, e94; doi:10.1038/psp.2013.70; published online 22 January 2014.
Project description:Some cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels without reducing cardiovascular events, suggesting that the clinical benefit of lowering LDL-C may depend on how LDL-C is lowered.To estimate the association between changes in levels of LDL-C (and other lipoproteins) and the risk of cardiovascular events related to variants in the CETP gene, both alone and in combination with variants in the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR) gene.Mendelian randomization analyses evaluating the association between CETP and HMGCR scores, changes in lipid and lipoprotein levels, and the risk of cardiovascular events involving 102?837 participants from 14 cohort or case-control studies conducted in North America or the United Kingdom between 1948 and 2012. The associations with cardiovascular events were externally validated in 189?539 participants from 48 studies conducted between 2011 and 2015.Differences in mean high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL-C, and apolipoprotein B (apoB) levels in participants with CETP scores at or above vs below the median.Odds ratio (OR) for major cardiovascular events.The primary analysis included 102?837 participants (mean age, 59.9 years; 58% women) who experienced 13?821 major cardiovascular events. The validation analyses included 189?539 participants (mean age, 58.5 years; 39% women) with 62?240 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD). Considered alone, the CETP score was associated with higher levels of HDL-C, lower LDL-C, concordantly lower apoB, and a corresponding lower risk of major vascular events (OR, 0.946 [95% CI, 0.921-0.972]) that was similar in magnitude to the association between the HMGCR score and risk of major cardiovascular events per unit change in levels of LDL-C (and apoB). When combined with the HMGCR score, the CETP score was associated with the same reduction in LDL-C levels but an attenuated reduction in apoB levels and a corresponding attenuated nonsignificant risk of major cardiovascular events (OR, 0.985 [95% CI, 0.955-1.015]). In external validation analyses, a genetic score consisting of variants with naturally occurring discordance between levels of LDL-C and apoB was associated with a similar risk of CHD per unit change in apoB level (OR, 0.782 [95% CI, 0.720-0.845] vs 0.793 [95% CI, 0.774-0.812]; P?=?.79 for difference), but a significantly attenuated risk of CHD per unit change in LDL-C level (OR, 0.916 [95% CI, 0.890-0.943] vs 0.831 [95% CI, 0.816-0.847]; P?<?.001) compared with a genetic score associated with concordant changes in levels of LDL-C and apoB.Combined exposure to variants in the genes that encode the targets of CETP inhibitors and statins was associated with discordant reductions in LDL-C and apoB levels and a corresponding risk of cardiovascular events that was proportional to the attenuated reduction in apoB but significantly less than expected per unit change in LDL-C. The clinical benefit of lowering LDL-C levels may therefore depend on the corresponding reduction in apoB-containing lipoprotein particles.
Project description:In almost 30 years since the introduction of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), no other class of lipid modulators has entered the market. Elevation of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) via inhibiting cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is an attractive strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients. Transfer of triglyceride and cholesteryl ester (CE) between lipoproteins is mediated by CETP; thus inhibition of this pathway can increase the concentration of HDL-C. Torcetrapib was the first CETP inhibitor evaluated in phase III clinical trials. Because of off-target effects, torcetrapib raised blood pressure and increased the concentration of serum aldosterone, leading to higher cardiovascular events and mortality. Torcetrapib showed positive effects on cardiovascular risk especially in patients with a greater increase in HDL-C and apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1) levels. The phase III clinical trial of dalcetrapib, the second CETP inhibitor that has entered clinical development, was terminated because of ineffectiveness. Dalcetrapib is a CETP modulator that elevated HDL-C levels but did not reduce the concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Both heterotypic and homotypic CE transfer between lipoproteins are mediated by some CETP inhibitors, including torcetrapib, anacetrapib, and evacetrapib, while dalcetrapib only affects the heterotypic CE transfer. Dalcetrapib has a chemical structure that is distinct from other CETP inhibitors, with a smaller molecular weight and a lack of trifluoride moieties. Moreover, dalcetrapib is a pro-drug that must be hydrolyzed to a pharmacologically active thiol form. Two other CETP inhibitors, anacetrapib and evacetrapib, are currently undergoing evaluation in phase III clinical trials. Both molecules have shown beneficial effects by increasing HDL-C and decreasing LDL-C concentration. The success of anacetrapib and evacetrapib remains to be confirmed upon the completion of phase III clinical trials in 2017 and 2015, respectively. Generally, the concentration of HDL-C has been considered a biomarker for the activity of CETP inhibitors. However, it is not clear whether a fundamental relationship exists between HDL-C levels and the risk of coronary artery diseases. The most crucial role for HDL is cholesterol efflux capacity in which HDL can reverse transport cholesterol from foam cells in atherosclerotic plaques. In view of the heterogeneity in HDL particle size, charge, and composition, the mere concentration of HDL-C may not be a good surrogate marker for HDL functionality. Recent clinical studies have reported that increased HDL functionality inversely correlates with the development of atherosclerotic plaque. Future development of CETP inhibitors may therefore benefit from the use of biomarkers of HDL functionality.
Project description:Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality within the United States and worldwide. Although targeting low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in the prevention of CVD has been shown to be effective, evidence exists to indicate that significant cardiovascular (CV) risk remains in patients receiving 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) - a risk that may be correlated with low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Among the various tactics under investigation to increase HDL-C, inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) appears the most adept to raise these levels. Although torcetrapib, a CETP inhibitor, demonstrated significant beneficial changes in HDL-C and LDL-C after 12 months of therapy when coadministered with atorvastatin, patients in the torcetrapib arm experienced a rise in mortality, including increased risk of death from CV and non-CV causes as well as a significant rise in major CV events. Later studies established that the adverse effects of torcetrapib were produced from molecule-specific off-target effects and not to the mechanism of CETP inhibition. These untoward outcomes have not been detected with anacetrapib, the third of the CETP inhibitors to enter Phase III trials. Furthermore, treatment with anacetrapib revealed both a statistically significant decrease in LDL-C and increase in HDL-C over placebo. While the place in therapy of niacin and fibrates to reduce CV events is currently in question secondary to the Atherothrombosis Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome with Low HDL Cholesterol/High Triglyceride and Impact on Global Health Outcomes and the Action to Control CV Risk in Diabetes trials, the ongoing large-scale, randomized-placebo, controlled-outcomes study with anacetrapib coadministered with statin treatment will not only test the hypothesis if CETP inhibition lowers residual CV risk but will also provide insight as to which patient subgroups might benefit the most from anacetrapib despite aggressive therapy with statins.
Project description:Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is a plasma protein that mediates bidirectional transfers of cholesteryl esters and triglycerides between low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Because low levels of plasma CETP are associated with increased plasma HDL-cholesterol, therapeutic inhibition of CETP activity is considered an attractive strategy for elevating plasma HDL-cholesterol, thereby hoping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, only a few laboratory animals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters, have plasma CETP activity, whereas mice and rats do not. It is not known whether all CETPs in these laboratory animals are functionally similar to human CETP. In the current study, we compared plasma CETP activity and characterized the plasma lipoprotein profiles of these animals. Furthermore, we studied the three CETP molecular structures, physicochemical characteristics, and binding properties with known CETP inhibitors in silico. Our results showed that rabbits exhibited higher CETP activity than guinea pigs and hamsters, while these animals had different lipoprotein profiles. CETP inhibitors can inhibit rabbit and hamster CETP activity in a similar manner to human CETP. Analysis of CETP molecules in silico revealed that rabbit and hamster CETP showed many features that are similar to human CETP. These results provide novel insights into understanding CETP functions and molecular properties.
Project description:Raising HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) has become an attractive therapeutic target to lower cardiovascular risk in addition to statins. Inhibition of the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), which mediates the transfer of cholesteryl esters from HDL to apolipoprotein B-containing particles, leads to a substantial increase in HDL-C levels. Various CETP inhibitors are currently being evaluated in phase II and phase III clinical trials. However, the beneficial effect of CETP inhibition on cardiovascular outcome remains to be established.Torcetrapib, the first CETP inhibitor tested in a phase III clinical trial (ILLUMINATE), failed in 2006 because of an increase in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events that subsequently were attributed to nonclass-related off-target effects (particularly increased blood pressure and low serum potassium) related to the stimulation of aldosterone production. Anacetrapib, another potent CETP inhibitor, raises HDL-C levels by approximately 138% and decreases LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) levels by approximately 40%, without the adverse off-targets effects of torcetrapib (DEFINE study). The CETP modulator dalcetrapib raises HDL-C levels by approximately 30% (with only minimal effect on LDL-C levels) and proved safety in the dal-VESSEL and dal-PLAQUE trials involving a total of nearly 600 patients. Evacetrapib, a relatively new CETP inhibitor, exhibited favorable changes in the lipid profile in a phase II study.The two ongoing outcome trials, dal-OUTCOMES (dalcetrapib) and REVEAL (anacetrapib), will provide more conclusive answers for the concept of reducing cardiovascular risk by raising HDL-C with CETP inhibition.
Project description:Human plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) transports cholesteryl ester from the antiatherogenic high-density lipoproteins (HDL) to the proatherogenic low-density and very low-density lipoproteins (LDL and VLDL). Inhibition of CETP has been shown to raise human plasma HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and is potentially a novel approach for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Here, we report the crystal structures of CETP in complex with torcetrapib, a CETP inhibitor that has been tested in phase 3 clinical trials, and compound 2, an analog from a structurally distinct inhibitor series. In both crystal structures, the inhibitors are buried deeply within the protein, shifting the bound cholesteryl ester in the N-terminal pocket of the long hydrophobic tunnel and displacing the phospholipid from that pocket. The lipids in the C-terminal pocket of the hydrophobic tunnel remain unchanged. The inhibitors are positioned near the narrowing neck of the hydrophobic tunnel of CETP and thus block the connection between the N- and C-terminal pockets. These structures illuminate the unusual inhibition mechanism of these compounds and support the tunnel mechanism for neutral lipid transfer by CETP. These highly lipophilic inhibitors bind mainly through extensive hydrophobic interactions with the protein and the shifted cholesteryl ester molecule. However, polar residues, such as Ser-230 and His-232, are also found in the inhibitor binding site. An enhanced understanding of the inhibitor binding site may provide opportunities to design novel CETP inhibitors possessing more drug-like physical properties, distinct modes of action, or alternative pharmacological profiles.