Original Study| Volume 19, ISSUE 11, P995-1002.e4, November 2018

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Effect of Low-Dose Statins and Apolipoprotein E Genotype on Cerebral Small Vessel Disease in Older Hypertensive Patients: A Subgroup Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial



      To investigate the effect of low-dose statins and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes on cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) to prevent CSVD in older hypertensive patients.


      A subgroup analysis of a randomized clinical trial.


      Shandong area, China.


      Hypertensive patients aged ≥60 years were recruited from April 2008 to November 2010.


      Patients were randomly assigned to rosuvastatin (10 mg/day) or placebo groups. APOE genotypes were categorized as ε4 carriers and non-ε4 carriers. White matter hyperintensities (WMH), Fazekas scale, lacunes, and microbleeds were assessed.


      After an average of intervention period of 61.8 months, WMH volume increased 1.45 ± 0.52 mL. There were 107 new-incident Fazekas scale ≥2, 65 new-incident lacunes, and 63 new-incident microbleeds. The increase in WMH volume was significantly lower in the rosuvastatin group than in the placebo group and was higher in APOE ε4 carriers than in non-ε4 carriers (all adjusted P < .001). The risk of new-incident Fazekas scale ≥2 was higher in the placebo group than in the rosuvastatin group (hazard ratio 2.150, 95% confidence interval 1.443–3.203; P < .001). APOE ε4 carriers were associated with an increased risk of new-incident Fazekas scale ≥2 compared with non-ε4 carriers (hazard ratio 1.973, 95% confidence interval 1.334−2.920; P = .001). There were no statistically significant differences in the risk of new-incident cerebral microbleeds between the rosuvastatin and placebo groups or between APOE ε4 carriers and non-ε4 carriers. There were no significant interactions between rosuvastatin use and APOE ε4 status regarding increased WMH volume (F = 1.020, P = .313) or for new-incident Fazekas scale ≥2 (P = .377), lacunes (P = .232), and microbleeds (P = .362).


      Low-dose rosuvastatin is an effective and safe therapy for CSVD. The presence of APOE ε4 allele may not be able to predict rosuvastatin treatment outcomes for preventing and/or treating CSVD in older hypertensive patients.


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