PCSK9 inhibition to reduce cardiovascular disease risk: Recent findings from the biology of PCSK9

Hagai Tavori, Ilaria Giunzioni, Sergio Fazio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Review novel insights into the biology of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 (PCSK9) that may explain the extreme efficiency of PCSK9 inhibition and the unexpected metabolic effects resulting from PCSK9 monoclonal antibody therapy, and may identify additional patients as target of therapy. Recent findings For over 20 years, the practical knowledge of cholesterol metabolism has centered around cellular mechanisms, and around the idea that statin therapy is the essential step to control metabolic abnormalities for cardiovascular risk management. This view has been embraced by the recent AHA/ACC guidelines, but is being challenged by recent studies including nonstatin medications and by the development of a new class of cholesterol-lowering agents that seems destined to early US Food and Drug Administration approval. The discovery of PCSK9 - a circulating protein that regulates hepatic low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor and serum LDL cholesterol levels - has led to a race for its therapeutic inhibition. Recent findings on PCSK9 regulation and pleiotropic effects will help identify additional patient groups likely to benefit from the inhibitory therapy and unravel the full potential of PCSK9 inhibition therapy. Summary Injectable human monoclonal antibodies to block the interaction between PCSK9 and LDL receptor are demonstrating extraordinary efficacy (LDL reductions of up to 70%) and almost the absence of any side-effects. A more moderate effect is seen on other lipoprotein parameters, with the exception of lipoprotein(a) levels. We describe mechanisms that can explain the effect on lipoprotein(a), predict a potential effect on postprandial triglyderides, and suggest a new category of patients for anti-PCSK9 therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 7 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • LDL-cholesterol
  • LDL-receptor
  • PCSK9 inhibition
  • lipoprotein(a)
  • triglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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