There is significant evidence that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, a commonly used class of
cholesterol lowering medications, reduce the risk of death from coronary disease. Although
these medicines lower cholesterol levels, other studies suggest that they have an additional
effect on improving blood vessel functioning. It has also been shown that consumption of a
fatty meal temporarily alters blood vessel functioning, causing endothelial dysfunction.
This study will examine if pravastatin, an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, improves blood
vessel functioning after a fatty meal. We plan on enrolling 32 subjects, aged 18-40 years,
who are healthy with no history of diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
These subjects will be randomly assigned to initially receive four days of pravastatin or
an inactive substance, and then crossed over to the other group. Blood vessel functioning
will be monitored by a technique called flow mediated vasoactivity, which uses ultrasound
measurement of the forearm artery and its response to temporary occlusion. This primary
measure of flow mediated vasoactivity will be done before and after consumption of a fatty
meal. We hope to show that treatment with pravastatin prevents the blood vessel dysfunction
known to occur after a high fat meal. Secondary outcomes will include measurement of
endothelin-l, a mediator of blood vessel functioning, and assessment of changes in lipid
profiles. If pravastatin does prevent endothelial dysfunction in this setting, it could
lead to further studies about their use in more acute medical settings, including heart
attacks or strokes.
- No history of the following: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, and coronary