Xuezhikang reduced arterial stiffness in patients with essential hypertension: a preliminary study

This study aimed to test the effects of xuezhikang, a cholestin extract that contains statin-like components, on arterial stiffness in patients with essential hypertension. One hundred hypertensive patients from the Chinese PLA General Hospital were randomly allocated to receive xuezhikang (1200 mg/day, orally) or placebo (same capsules containing only pharmaceutical excipients). Physical examination outcomes, lipid profile, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels, matrix metalloproteinases-9 (MMP-9) levels, and arterial outcomes, including stiffness parameter (β), pressure-strain elasticity modulus (Ep), arterial compliance (AC), augmentation index (AI), and one-point pulse wave velocity (PWVβ) were obtained at baseline and after 6 months of the intervention. Xuezhikang significantly reduced β (8.4±3.1 vs 6.8±2.1, P=0.007), Ep (122.8±43.9 vs 100.7±33.2, P=0.009), PWVβ (6.7±1.2 vs 6.1±1.0, P=0.013), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (3.4±0.6 vs 2.9±0.5, P=0.001), hs-CRP [2.1 (0.4-10.0) vs 1.4 (0.3-4.1), P=0.020], and MMP-9 (17.2±2.4 vs 12.7±3.8, P <0.001) compared to baseline. The placebo had no effect on these parameters. The changes of PWVβ in the xuezhikang group was significantly associated with the changes of hs-CRP and MMP-9 (r=0.144, P=0.043; r=0.278, P=0.030, respectively) but not with lipid profile changes. Our research showed xuezhikang can improve the parameters of arterial stiffness in hypertensive patients, and its effect was independent of lipid lowering.