Darapladib, a Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Inhibitor, Reduces Rho Kinase Activity in Atherosclerosis

Juan Zhang, Dong Ling Xu, Xiao Bo Liu, Shao Jie Bi, Tong Zhao, Shu Jian Sui, Xiao Ping Ji, Qing Hua Lu
Yonsei Medical Journal 2016, 57 (2): 321-7

PURPOSE: Increased lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) activity and Rho kinase activity may be associated with atherosclerosis. The principal aim of this study was to examine whether darapladib (a selective Lp-PLA2 inhibitor) could reduce the elevated Lp-PLA2 and Rho kinase activity in atherosclerosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Studies were performed in male Sprague-Dawley rats. The atherosclerosis rats were prepared by feeding them with a high-cholesterol diet for 10 weeks. Low-dose darapladib (25 mg·kg⁻¹·d⁻¹) and high-dose darapladib (50 mg·kg⁻¹·d⁻¹) interventions were then administered over the course of 2 weeks.

RESULTS: The serum levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and Lp-PLA2, significantly increased in atherosclerosis model groups, as did Rho kinase activity and cardiomyocyte apoptosis (p<0.05 vs. sham group), whereas nitric oxide (NO) production was reduced. Levels of TC, LDL-C, CRP, Lp-PLA2, and Rho kinase activity were respectively reduced in darapladib groups, whereas NO production was enhanced. When compared to the low-dose darapladib group, the reduction of the levels of TC, LDL-C, CRP, and Lp-PLA2 was more prominent in the high-dose darapladib group (p<0.05), and the increase of NO production was more prominent (p<0.05). Cardiomyocyte apoptosis of the high-dose darapladib group was also significantly reduced compared to the low-dose darapladib group (p<0.05). However, there was no significant difference in Rho kinase activity between the low-dose darapladib group and the high-dose darapladib group (p>0.05).

CONCLUSION: Darapladib, a Lp-PLA2 inhibitor, leads to cardiovascular protection that might be mediated by its inhibition of both Rho kinase and Lp-PLA2 in atherosclerosis.

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