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Perspectives on the Cardioprotective Effects of Statins

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Statins are inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), the rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol synthesis. In recent years, statins have become the major choice of treatment for hypercholesterolemia. Emerging evidence from both animal and human studies indicates that mechanisms independent of cholesterol lowering effects contribute to the observed clinical benefits of statins. The anti-hypertrophy effect of statins on the cardiac tissue represents one of such mechanisms. The beneficial effects of statins on cardiac hypertrophy and cardioprotection may be attributed to their functional influences on small G proteins such as Ras and Rho, resulting in an increase of endogenous nitric oxide (NO), reduction of oxidative stress, inhibition of inflammatory reaction, and decrease of the renin-angiotensin system activity as well as C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in cardiac tissues. Recent findings from in vitro and in vivo studies of statins on cardioprotective effects are summarized in this review. The unveiled novel mechanisms support the use of statins as the new mainstay therapeutic agents for various cardiovascular diseases and complications.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; g proteins; inflammation; nitric oxide; oxidative stress; statins

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, B403 Life Sciences Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1317, USA.

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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