OBJECTIVE: Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease promoted by pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by NOD-, LRR- and pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (NLRP 3) inflammasome. Colchicine is an anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits inflammasome’s action and stabilizes atherosclerotic lesions. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, metalloproteinase levels, and foam cell count and volume. Fenofibrate also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticoagulant properties while also having a beneficial effect on the vasomotor function of the endothelium. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of per os colchicine administration in combination with fenofibrate and NAC on triglyceride levels and the development of atherosclerotic lesions in cholesterol-fed rabbits.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-eight male, 2 months old New Zealand White rabbits were separated into four groups and were fed with different types of diet for 7 weeks: standard, cholesterol 1% w/w, cholesterol 1% w/w plus colchicine 2 mg/kg body weight plus 250 mg/kg body weight/day fenofibrate, and cholesterol 1% w/w plus colchicine 2 mg/kg body weight plus 15 mg/kg body weight/day NAC. Blood samples were drawn from all animals. Lipid profiles were assessed, and interleukin 6 (IL-6) measurements were performed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit. Histologic examination was performed on aorta specimens stained with eosin and hematoxylin. Aortic intimal thickness was evaluated using image analysis.
RESULTS: Colchicine administration in combination with fenofibrate or NAC statistically significantly reduced the extent of atherosclerotic lesions in aortic preparations. Co-administration of colchicine with NAC has a stronger anti-atherogenic effect than the colchicine plus fenofibrate regimen. Triglerycide levels were decreased in the colchicine plus fenofibrate group and the colchicine plus NAC group at the end of the experiment (p < 0.05), whereas the Cholesterol group had increased levels. A favorable significant lower concentration of IL-6 was detected in the colchicine plus NAC group vs. the other groups.
CONCLUSIONS: In an experimental rabbit model, it appears that colchicine statistically significantly reduces the development of atherosclerosis of the aorta, especially in combination with NAC. Colchicine, as an NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, and NAC, as an agent that directly targets IL-6 signaling, can reduce the inflammatory risk. Fenofibrate enhances the attenuating role of colchicine on triglyceride levels. Clinical studies should investigate whether similar effects can be observed in humans.
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M. Spartalis, G. Siasos, M. Mastrogeorgiou, E. Spartalis, V.V. Kaminiotis, K.S. Mylonas, A. Kapelouzou, C. Kontogiannis, I.P. Doulamis, K. Toutouzas, N. Nikiteas, D.C. Iliopoulos
The effect of per os colchicine administration in combination with fenofibrate and N-acetylcysteine on triglyceride levels and the development of atherosclerotic lesions in cholesterol-fed rabbits
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 25 - N. 24