People who have a history of high triglycerides tend to have larger-than-average, dry skin, a condition called hypertriglyceridemia.
But a new drug called ALCYCLEQR-100 might be able to help people who have normal skin to keep their cholesterol levels down.
The drug, developed by Pfizer Inc., is designed to reduce triglyceride levels in the body.
It is currently being tested in a clinical trial in people with type 2 diabetes, and is scheduled to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration next year.
“We know triglycerides have a direct impact on the blood vessels, and we know that lowering triglycerides can help decrease inflammation in the skin,” said Dr. Matthew Stokes, an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and co-leader of the Pfizer-funded study.
However, lowering triglyceride by lowering blood sugar also can lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels, a marker of inflammation in skin.
So, people who are obese or diabetic have lower HDL levels than those who are not, potentially making them more susceptible to the adverse effects of elevated triglycerides.
A recent study found that people with diabetes have significantly higher triglyceride-raising effects than those with normal skin.
To get a better idea of how ALCYR-100 will work, the scientists used mice that had a high-fat diet and low triglyceride (3.4 to 4.0 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day) levels.
After two weeks, the mice with a high triglyceride level were given a pill containing an enzyme called CCL5 inhibitors to control the levels of triglycerides in their blood.
They also had to eat a special diet that had high-fiber foods and limited exercise, and they also had the drug administered to them daily for three weeks.
During the three weeks, blood samples were taken every two days and their triglyceride concentrations were measured by ELISA.
Those who had the highest triglyceride were more likely to have normal HDL levels and lower levels of inflammation than mice with the lowest triglyceride.
These findings, combined with the fact that triglyceride can increase inflammation in people who suffer from diabetes, suggest that people who develop diabetes and have elevated triglyceride may have higher risk of developing wrinkles.
While ALCYC-100 was well-tolerated in the study, the drug had a much smaller effect than expected.
People who took the pill had a reduction in total body fat of 2.6 percent, compared with a reduction of 2 percent in the mice who had normal skin, according to a Pfizer press release.
And triglyceride could be controlled by a single enzyme called COX-2, a gene that regulates the activity of LDL receptors.
That enzyme is involved in the oxidation of fatty acids and triglycerides to form triglycerides and lower HDL cholesterol.
According to Pfizer, this was the first study to show that lowering the levels and activity of COX is a viable way to lower triglycerides without causing a rise in triglycerides or inflammation in a person with diabetes.
It’s also possible that lowering cholesterol can reduce the inflammatory reaction caused by the high triglycerid levels, the researchers said.
If this turns out to be the case, it would represent a breakthrough for ALCYP-100.
But until the drug becomes widely available, it is likely to be difficult to recommend to people who already have elevated levels of blood triglycerides because of diabetes or other conditions.