Isoprenoid depletion by statins antagonizes cytokine-induced down-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide expression and increases NO synthase activity in human umbilical vein endothelial cells.J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Sep; 58(3):503-14.JP
Endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis are associated with an inflammation-induced decrease in endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression. Based on the differences between hydrophobic and hydrophilic statins in their reduction of cardiac events, we analyzed the effects of rosuvastatin and cerivastatin on eNOS and inducible NO synthase (iNOS) expression and NOS activity in TNF-alpha-stimulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Both statins reversed down-regulation of eNOS mRNA and protein expression by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and isoprenoid synthesis. Cerivastatin tended to a more pronounced effect on eNOS expression compared to rosuvastatin. NOS activity - measured by conversion of [(3)H]-L-arginine to [(3)H]-L-citrulline - was enhanced under treatment with both drugs due to inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase. Statin-treatment reduced iNOS mRNA expression under normal conditions, but had no relevant effects on iNOS mRNA expression in cytokine-treated cells. Rosuvastatin and cerivastatin reverse the detrimental effects of TNF-alpha-induced down-regulation in eNOS protein expression and increase NO synthase activity by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and subsequent blocking of isoprenoid synthesis. These results provide evidence that statins have beneficial effects by increasing eNOS expression and activity during the atherosclerotic process.