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Simvastatin improves disturbed endothelial barrier function

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Author: Nieuw Amerongen, G.P. van · Vermeer, M.A. · Negre-Aminou, P. · Lankelma, J. · Emeis, J.J. · Hinsbergh, V.W.M. van
Institution: Gaubius Instituut TNO
Source:Circulation, 23, 102, 2803-2809
Identifier: 235878
Keywords: Animals · Aorta · Arteriosclerosis · Capillary Permeability · Cell Membrane Permeability · Cells, Cultured · Cholesterol · Cholesterol, LDL · Disease Models, Animal · Endothelium, Vascular · Humans · Hypercholesterolemia · Rabbits · Simvastatin


Background - Recent clinical trials have established that inhibitors of the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (statins) reduce the risk of acute coronary events. These effects of statins cannot be fully explained by their lipid-lowering potential. Improved endothelial function may contribute to the positive effects of statin treatment. Methods and Results - In the present study, we report that simvastatin reduces endothelial barrier dysfunction, which is associated with the development of atherosclerosis. Treatment of human umbilical vein endothelial cells for 24 hours with 5 μmol/L simvastatin reduced the thrombin-induced endothelial barrier dysfunction in vitro by 55 ± 3%, as assessed by the passage of peroxidase through human umbilical vein endothelial cell monolayers. Similar effects were found on the thrombin-induced passage of 125I-LDL through human aortic endothelial cell monolayers. This reduction in barrier dysfunction by simvastatin was both dose and time dependent and was accompanied by a reduction in the thrombin-induced formation of stress fibers and focal adhesions and membrane association of RhoA. Simvastatin treatment had no effect on intracellular cAMP levels. In Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic rabbits, treatment for 1 month with 15 mg/kg simvastatin reduced vascular leakage in both the thoracic and abdominal part of the aorta, as evidenced by the Evans blue dye exclusion test. The decreased permeability was not accompanied by a reduction of oil red O-stainable atherosclerotic lesions. Conclusions - These data show that simvastatin, in a relatively high concentration, improves disturbed endothelial barrier function both in vitro and in vivo. The data also support the beneficial effects of simvastatin in acute coronary events by mechanisms other than its lipid-lowering effect. Chemicals/CAS: Cholesterol, 57-88-5; Cholesterol, LDL; Simvastatin, 79902-63-9