Although pleiotropy, which is defined as multiple effects derived from a single gene, was recognized many years ago, and considerable progress has since been achieved in this field, it is not very clear how much this feature of a drug is clinically relevant. During the last decade,
beneficial pleiotropic effects from hypolipidemic drugs (as in, effects that are different from the primary ones) have been associated with reduction of cardiovascular risk. As with statins, the agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), niacin and fibrates, have been
suggested to exhibit pleiotropic activity that could significantly modify the outcome of a cardiovascular ailment. This review examines findings demonstrating the impacts of treatment with hypolipidemic drugs on cardiac response to ischemia in a setting of acute ischemia–reperfusion,
in relation to PPAR activation. Specifically, it addresses the issue of susceptibility to ischemia, with particular regard to the preconditioning-like cardioprotection conferred by hypolipidemic drugs, as well as the potential molecular mechanisms behind this cardioprotection. Finally, the
involvement of PPAR activation in the mechanisms of non-metabolic cardioprotective effects from hypolipidemic drugs, and their effects on normal and pathologically altered myocardium (in the hearts of hypertensive rats) is also discussed.
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