Metformin: An antiatherosclerotic agent modifying very low density lipoproteins in rabbits

C. R. Sirtori, A. Catapano, G. C. Ghiselli, A. L. Innocenti, J. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The composition of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL: d <1.019) of New Zealand male rabbits receiving cholesterol (2 g/day) and metformin (135 mg/kg/day) is investigated. These rabbits, while showing only a slight reduction of plasma cholesterol levels, as compared to cholesterol-fed (h.c.) animals, show a marked decrease of the aortic cholesterol esters and atheromatous process. VLDL from the cholesterol + metformin group (h.c. + met), as compared to the h.c. animals, are homogenous in size and not separable into VLDL-1 and VLDL-2 subfractions by Sepharose 4B chromatography. These findings are confirmed by electron microscopy, which shows homogeneity of particle size, as well a decreased tendency of h.c. + met VLDL to aggregate. Chemical composition of h.c. + met VLDL is characterized by increased triglycerides and phospholipids, while the percentage of cholesterol esters is not significantly decreased. Phospholipid distribution of h.c. + met VLDL shows a significant decrease of sphingomyelin and increased phosphatidylinositol, the latter both as compared to h.c. and control VLDL. Apoprotein pattern of h.c. + met VLDL in polyacrylamide gels shows a relative increase of peptides with C mobility and a decrease of proteins corresponding to the arg-rich peptides. These findings exemplify a case of altered lipoprotein composition and decreased atheromatosis, in the presence of marked hypercholesteremia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1977


  • Arg-rich protein
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Hypercholesteremia
  • Metformin
  • Phosphatidylinositol
  • Type III hyperlipoproteinemia
  • Very low density lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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