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Inhibition of Smooth Muscle Cell Migration and Proliferation by Statins

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Vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) migration and proliferation contribute to the pathobiology of atherosclerosis and of instent restenosis, transplant vasculopathy and vein by-pass graft failure. Since mevalonate (MVA) and other intermediates of cholesterol biosynthesis (isoprenoids) are necessary for cell migration and proliferation, inhibition of 3-methyl-3-glutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the rate limiting step of the MVA pathway, has the potential to result in antiatherosclerotic effects. Indeed statins, competitive inhibitors of the HMG-CoA reductase, have shown the capability to interfere with migration and proliferation of SMC in diverse experimental models. Here we summarize in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo evidence of the inhibitory effects of statins on SMC proliferation and migration and discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in their pharmacodynamic action. Altogether, this evidence suggests direct vascular antiatherosclerotic properties of statins. However, it is important to mention that statins failed to prevent intimal thickening when studied in clinical setting characterized by accelerated vascular SMC proliferation and migration (e.g. restenosis after PTCA and instent restenosis), thus leaving open the question of the clinical relevance of these direct vascular effects of statins.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents in Medicinal Chemistry aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in the medicinal chemistry and rational drug design for the discovery of new Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics in Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic medicinal chemistry.

    Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents in 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 in Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic drug discovery.

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