Calcium antagonists and low density lipoprotein receptors

R. Paoletti, F. Bernini, R. Fumagalli, M. Allorio, A. Corsini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of different calcium antagonists on receptor-mediated LDL catabolism by human cells in culture was investigated. The calcium antagonists have been recently classified in six types, based on their pharmacological activities. The three types selective for the slow calcium channels (types I, II, and III), and the nonselective type IV have been investigated in respect to LDL metabolism. Calcium antagonists of type I (verapamil-related compounds) and type III (diltiazem) induce an increase of receptor-mediated uptake of human LDL. In contrast, calcium antagonists of type II (nifedipine-related compounds) and type IV (flunarizine) are inactive. Verapamil and diltiazem stimulate LDL receptor activity in normal fibroblasts, in fibroblasts obtained from a hypercholesterolemic type IIa heterozygous patient, in the human hepatoma cell line HepG2, but not in receptor-negative cells. The stimulatory effect depends on drug concentrations in the culture medium. Cycloheximide and α-amanitin prevent the stimulating effect of calcium antagonists on LDL uptake. The possible mechanisms of this action of calcium antagonists and the relationship between the in vitro stimulation of LDL receptor activity and the in vivo inhibition of lipid deposition in the arterial wall elicited by calcium antagonists are discussed. Calcium antagonists may exert part of their antiatherosclerotic activity by counteracting the inhibition of receptor-mediated lipid metabolism induced by calcium deposition in the cellular components of the arterial wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-398
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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