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ATP citrate lyase (ACLY) is an important enzyme linking carbohydrate to lipid metabolism by generating acetyl-CoA from citrate for fatty acid and cholesterol biosynthesis. Mendelian randomization of large human cohorts has validated ACLY as a promising target for low-density-lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering and cardiovascular protection. Among current ACLY inhibitors, Bempedoic acid (ETC-1002) is a first-in-class, prodrug-based direct competitive inhibitor of ACLY which regulates lipid metabolism by upregulating hepatic LDL receptor (LDLr) expression and activity. ACLY deficiency in hepatocytes protects from hepatic steatosis and dyslipidemia. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of ACLY by bempedoic acid, prevents dyslipidemia and attenuates atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic ApoE-/- mice, LDLr-/- mice, and LDLr-/- miniature pigs. Convincing data from clinical trials have revealed that bempedoic acid significantly lowers LDL-C as monotherapy, combination therapy, and add-on with statin therapy in statin-intolerant patients. More recently, a phase 3 CLEAR Harmony clinical trial ("Safety and Efficacy of Bempedoic Acid to Reduce LDL Cholesterol") has shown that bempedoic acid reduces the level of LDL-C in hypercholesterolemic patients receiving guideline-recommended statin therapy with a good safety profile. Hereby, we provide a updated review of the expression, regulation, genetics, functions of ACLY in lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis, and highlight the therapeutic potential of ACLY inhibitors (such as bempedoic acid, SB-204990, and other naturally-occuring inhibitors) to treat atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. It must be pointed out that long-term large-scale clinical trials in high-risk patients, are warranted to validate whether ACLY represent a promising therapeutic target for pharmaceutic intervention of dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis; and assess the safety and efficacy profile of ACLY inhibitors in improving cardiovascular outcome of patients. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Xiaojun Feng, Lei Zhang, Suowen Xu, Ai-Zong Shen. ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) in lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis: An updated review. Progress in lipid research. 2020 Jan;77:101006

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PMID: 31499095

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