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Statin-induced expression change of INSIG1 in lymphoblastoid cell lines correlates with plasma triglyceride statin response in a sex-specific manner.


Statins are widely prescribed to lower plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. They also modestly reduce plasma triglyceride (TG), an independent cardiovascular disease risk factor, in most people. The mechanism and inter-individual variability of TG statin response is poorly understood. We measured statin-induced gene expression changes in lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from 150 participants of a simvastatin clinical trial and identified 23 genes (false discovery rate, FDR=15%) with expression changes correlated with plasma TG response. The correlation of insulin-induced gene 1 (INSIG1) expression changes with TG response (rho=0.32, q=0.11) was driven by men (interaction P=0.0055). rs73161338 was associated with INSIG1 expression changes (P=5.4 × 10-5) and TG response in two statin clinical trials (P=0.0048), predominantly in men. A combined model including INSIG1 expression level and splicing changes accounted for 29.5% of plasma TG statin response variance in men (P=5.6 × 10-6). Our results suggest that INSIG1 variation may contribute to statin-induced changes in plasma TG in a sex-specific manner.

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