RG 12561 (dalvastatin) is a prodrug which converts to its open hydroxyacid form in the body. The Na salt of RG 12561 (RG 12561-Na) is a potent inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. It competitively inhibits rat liver HMG-CoA reductase with an IC50 value of 3.4 nmol/l. In the same assay, the IC50 values for other potent HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, lovastatin-Na and pravastatin, were 2.3 and 8.9 nmol/l, respectively. In Hep G2 liver cells, RG 12561-Na, lovastatin-Na and pravastatin inhibited cholesterol biosynthesis from radiolabeled octanoate with IC50 values of 4 and 5 nmol/l and 1.1 μmol/l, respectively. In a rat ex vivo assay, orally administered RG 12561 lovastatin and pravastatin inhibited cholesterol biosynthesis in liver slices with ED50 values of 0.9, 0.5 and 12 mg/kg, respectively. In cholestyramine-fed hamsters, RG 12561 (0.1% in food for 18 days) reduced LDL cholesterol, whereas HDL was slightly increased. The reductions in the LDL/HDL ratio for RG 12561, RG 12561-Na, lovastatin and lovastatin-Na were 35, 76, 88 and 88%, respectively. At a higher dose, RG 12561 (0.4% in food) reduced serum cholesterol, LDL and LDL/HDL by 84, 97 and 91 %, respectively. In WHHL rabbits, RG 12561 and lovastatin (5 mg/kg, b.i.d., 12 days) reduced serum cholesterol by 17 and 16 %, respectively. These results demonstrate that RG 12561 is a potent cholesterol-lowering agent.

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