Urinary excretion of mevalonic acid as an indicator of cholesterol synthesis
Urinary excretion of mevalonic acid was investigated as an indicator of cholesterol synthesis. In normolipemic volunteers, excretion of mevalonic acid averaged 3.51 +/- 0.59 (SD) micrograms/kg x day1; (n = 24) and was not different from patients with hypercholesterolemia (3.30 +/- 0.92 micrograms/kg x day1; n = 24). In patients with cerebrotendineous xanthomatosis, the excretion was significantly higher (8.55 +/- 1.92 micrograms/kg x day1; n = 6, P < 0.001) but comparable to volunteers treated with cholestyramine (6.69 +/- 2.6 micrograms/kg x day1; n = 5). A significant correlation was found between 24-h excretion of mevalonic acid and cholesterol synthesis (r = 0.835; n = 35; P < 0.001). The coefficient of variation of excretion of mevalonic acid during 3 consecutive days was small (9.8%; n = 7). However, urinary output of mevalonic acid was significantly higher during the night (164 +/- 14 micrograms/12-h) than during the day (129 +/- 9 micrograms/12-h; n = 11; P < 0.05). In patients treated with simvastatin (40 mg/day) for 6 weeks, the ratio of mevalonic acid to creatinine in a morning urine sample decreased significantly compared to pretreatment values (110 +/- 25 micrograms/g vs. 66 +/- 25 micrograms/g; P < 0.001). Furthermore, the ratio of mevalonic acid to creatinine in a morning urine sample correlated with the ratio from the 24-h collection period (r = 0.714; n = 34; P < 0.001). The results indicate that the analysis of urinary mevalonic acid, either in 24-h collection or in a single morning sample, is an attractive method for evaluation of long and very short term changes of the rates of cholesterol synthesis.