Background: Little is known about the potential of statin-induced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) increase to improve renal function in coronary heart disease (CHD) patients.

Methods and Results: In this post hoc analysis of the GREek Atorvastatin and Coronary heart disease Evaluation (GREACE) Study we investigated the effect of HDL-C increase after statin treatment on renal function. From a total of 1,600 patients, 880 were on various statins (mainly atorvastatin) and 720 were not. Other secondary prevention therapies were similar in the 2 groups. After a 3 year follow up, the lipid profile was unchanged in the statin untreated group and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was reduced by 5.1% compared with baseline (P<0.0001). In contrast, in the statin treated group non-HDL-C was reduced by 43%, HDL-C was increased by 7% and there was a significant increase in eGFR compared with baseline by 9.8% (P<0.0001). In multiple regression analysis, the mean 7% increase in HDL-C in the treated arm during the entire study was associated with a 5.6% increase in eGFR recorded after the 6th week of treatment. The odds ratio of eGFR increase with every 5% statin-induced rise in HDL-C was 1.78 (95% confidence interval 1.19-3.34; P=0.001).

Conclusions: Statin treatment significantly improved renal function. Statin-induced HDL-C increase significantly and independently contributed to this improvement. This finding supports the concept that improving lipid variables other than low density lipoprotein cholesterol is also beneficial to preserving renal function.

Keywords: Renal function, chronic kidney disease, dyslipidaemia, statins, high density lipoprotein, and coronary heart disease.
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