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Genetically predicted on-statin LDL response is associated with higher intracerebral haemorrhage risk.

Brain. 2022 May 22:awac186. doi: 10.1093/brain/awac186. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35598204.

Authors/Editors: Mayerhofer E, Malik R, Parodi L, Burgess S, Harloff A, Dichgans M, Rosand J, Anderson CD, Georgakis MK.
Publication Date: 2022


Statins lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and are widely used for the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Whether statin-induced LDL reduction increases risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) has been debated for almost two decades. Here, we explored whether genetically predicted on-statin LDL response is associated with ICH risk using Mendelian Randomization. Utilizing genomic data from randomized trials, we derived a polygenic score from 35 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of on-statin LDL response and tested it in the population-based UK-Biobank (UKB). We extracted statin drug and dose information from primary care data on a subset of 225,195 UKB participants covering a period of 29 years. We validated the effects of the genetic score on longitudinal LDL measurements with generalized mixed models and explored associations with incident ICH using Cox regression analysis. Statins were prescribed at least once to 75,973 (31%) of the study participants (mean 57 years, 55% females). Among statin users, mean LDL decreased by 3.45 mg/dl per year (95% CI: [-3.47, -3.42]) over follow-up. A higher genetic score of statin response (one SD increment) was associated with significant additional reductions in LDL levels (-0.05 mg/dl per year, [-0.07, -0.02]), showed concordant lipidomic effects on other lipid traits as statin use, and was associated with a lower risk for incident myocardial infarction (HR per SD increment 0.98 95% CI [0.96, 0.99]) and peripheral artery disease (HR per SD increment 0.93 95% CI [0.87, 0.99]). Over a 11-year follow-up period, a higher genetically predicted statin response among statin users was associated with higher ICH risk in a model adjusting for statin dose (HR per SD increment 1.16, 95% CI [1.05, 1.28]). On the contrary, there was no association with ICH risk among statin non-users (p = 0.89). These results provide further support for the hypothesis that statin-induced LDL reduction may be causally associated with ICH risk. While the net benefit of statins for preventing vascular disease is well-established, these results provide insights about the personalized response to statin intake and the role of pharmacologic LDL-lowering in the pathogenesis of ICH.


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