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1.  Statins Impair Antitumor Effects of Rituximab by Inducing Conformational Changes of CD20 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e64.
Rituximab is used in the treatment of CD20+ B cell lymphomas and other B cell lymphoproliferative disorders. Its clinical efficacy might be further improved by combinations with other drugs such as statins that inhibit cholesterol synthesis and show promising antilymphoma effects. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of statins on rituximab-induced killing of B cell lymphomas.
Methods and Findings
Complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) was assessed by MTT and Alamar blue assays as well as trypan blue staining, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) was assessed by a 51Cr release assay. Statins were found to significantly decrease rituximab-mediated CDC and ADCC of B cell lymphoma cells. Incubation of B cell lymphoma cells with statins decreased CD20 immunostaining in flow cytometry studies but did not affect total cellular levels of CD20 as measured with RT-PCR and Western blotting. Similar effects are exerted by other cholesterol-depleting agents (methyl-β-cyclodextrin and berberine), but not filipin III, indicating that the presence of plasma membrane cholesterol and not lipid rafts is required for rituximab-mediated CDC. Immunofluorescence microscopy using double staining with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against a conformational epitope and a linear cytoplasmic epitope revealed that CD20 is present in the plasma membrane in comparable amounts in control and statin-treated cells. Atomic force microscopy and limited proteolysis indicated that statins, through cholesterol depletion, induce conformational changes in CD20 that result in impaired binding of anti-CD20 mAb. An in vivo reduction of cholesterol induced by short-term treatment of five patients with hypercholesterolemia with atorvastatin resulted in reduced anti-CD20 binding to freshly isolated B cells.
Statins were shown to interfere with both detection of CD20 and antilymphoma activity of rituximab. These studies have significant clinical implications, as impaired binding of mAbs to conformational epitopes of CD20 elicited by statins could delay diagnosis, postpone effective treatment, or impair anti-lymphoma activity of rituximab.
Jakub Golab and colleagues found that statins significantly decrease rituximab-mediated complement-dependent cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity against B cell lymphoma cells.
Editors' Summary
Lymphomas are common cancers of the lymphatic system, the tissues and organs that produce and store the white blood cells (lymphocytes) that fight infections. In healthy people, the cells in the lymph nodes (collections of lymphocytes in the armpit, groin, and neck) and other lymphatic organs divide to form new cells only when the body needs them. Lymphomas form when a T or B lymphocyte starts to divide uncontrollably. The first sign of lymphoma is often a painless swelling in the armpit, groin, or neck caused by lymphocyte overgrowth in a lymph node. Eventually, the abnormal (malignant) lymphocytes, which provide no protection against infectious diseases, spread throughout the body. Treatments for lymphoma include chemotherapy (drugs that kill rapidly dividing cells) and radiotherapy. In addition, a drug called rituximab was recently developed for the treatment of some types of B cell lymphoma. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody, a laboratory-produced protein. It binds to a protein called CD20 that is present on the surface of both normal and malignant B lymphocytes and induces cell killing through processes called “complement-dependent cytotoxity” (CDC) and “antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxity” (ADCC).
Why Was This Study Done?
Although rituximab lengthens the lives of patients with some types of B cell lymphoma, it is not a cure—the lymphoma usually recurs. Researchers are trying to increase the effectiveness of rituximab by combining it with other anticancer agents. One group of drugs that might be combined with rituximab is the “statins,” drugs that reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering the level of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the blood. In laboratory experiments, statins kill some cancer cells, in part by altering the fat composition of their outer (plasma) membrane. In addition, some population-based studies suggest that statin treatment might slightly decrease the risk of developing some kinds of cancer, including lymphoma. Statins are already undergoing clinical evaluation in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of lymphoma, but in this study, the researchers investigate the influence of statins on rituximab-induced killing of B cell lymphomas.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
When the researchers tested the ability of rituximab and statin combinations to kill B cell lymphoma cells growing in dishes, they found that statins decreased rituximab-dependent CDC and ADCC of these cells. Statin treatment, they report, did not alter the total amount of CD20 made by the lymphoma cells or the amount of CD20 in their plasma membranes, but it did reduce the binding of another anti-CDC20 monoclonal antibody to the cells. Because both this antibody and rituximab bind to a specific three-dimensional structure in CD20 (a “conformational epitope”), the researchers hypothesized that statins might alter rituximab-induced killing by affecting the shape of the CD20 molecule on the lymphoma cell surface. To test this idea, they used two techniques—atomic force microscopy and limited proteolysis. The data obtained using both approaches confirmed that statins induce shape changes in CD20. Finally, the researchers took B cells from five patients who had taken statins for a short time and showed that this treatment had reduced the amount of anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody able to bind to these cells.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that statins change the shape of the CD20 molecules on the surface of normal and malignant B lymphocytes, probably by changing the amount of cholesterol in the cell membrane. This effect of statins has several clinical implications, which means that cancer specialists should check whether patients with known or suspected B cell lymphoma are taking statins to treat high cholesterol. First, the impaired binding of monoclonal antibodies to conformational epitopes of CD20 in patients being treated with statins might delay the diagnosis of B cell lymphomas (CD20 binding to lymphocytes is used during the diagnosis of lymphomas). Second, some patients with B cell lymphoma may receive an incorrect diagnosis and may not be offered rituximab. Finally, because statins impair the anti-lymphoma activity of rituximab, a possibility that needs to be investigated in clinical studies, cancer specialists should check that patients with B cell lymphoma are not taking statins before prescribing rituximab.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus has an encyclopedia page on lymphoma and a list of links to other sources of information on lymphoma (in English and Spanish)
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about lymphoma and about statins and cancer prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Cancerbackup provides information for patients and caregivers on different types of B-cell lymphoma and on rituximab
The US Leukemia and Lymphoma Society also provides information for patients and caregivers about lymphoma
PMCID: PMC2270297  PMID: 18366248
2.  Simvastatin Activates the PPARγ-Dependent Pathway to Prevent Left Ventricular Hypertrophy Associated with Inhibition of RhoA Signaling 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2013;40(2):140-147.
Left ventricular hypertrophy is an independent risk factor for major adverse cardiovascular events. Statins have positive effects on this condition; however, the mechanisms are incompletely understood. In this study, we examined whether the effect of simvastatin on left ventricular hypertrophy can be mediated with the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ-dependent pathway in rabbits with nonischemic heart failure (HF).
We induced aortic insufficiency and constriction in 48 rabbits and divided them equally into control, HF, and HF with simvastatin therapy (HF-SIM) groups. The HF-SIM group was given 10 mg/kg/d of simvastatin. We echocardiographically measured baseline and 8-week cardiac structure and function, and we used Western blot, polymerase chain reaction, and electrophoretic analytic techniques to evaluate messenger RNA expression and protein expression and activity. In comparison with the HF group, the HF-SIM rabbits had an increased ejection fraction and decreased left ventricular mass index, interventricular septal thickness, ventricular posterior-wall thickness, and collagen volume fraction. Moreover, the messenger RNA and protein expression of PPARγ in the HF-SIM rabbits were significantly higher than those in the HF rabbits; and the activity and expression of nuclear factor-κB subunit p65, RhoA, and Rho GTPase were significantly lower. Our results indicate that simvastatin therapy attenuates the PPARγ-dependent pathway in association with the inhibition of RhoA and Rho GTPase signaling to inhibit nuclear factor-κB activation, thus preventing the development of left ventricular hypertrophy and fibrosis in rabbits with nonischemic heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3649785  PMID: 23678211
Disease models, animal; heart failure/drug therapy; heart ventricles/drug effects; hypertrophy, left ventricular/physiopathology/prevention & control; NF-kappa B/metabolism; PPAR gamma/drug effects/metabolism; rhoA GTP-binding protein; simvastatin; ventricular function, left/drug effects
3.  Simvastatin and Losartan Differentially and Synergistically Inhibit Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E-/- Mice 
Korean Circulation Journal  2012;42(8):543-550.
Background and Objectives
Since statins and angiotensin receptor blockers are a frequently prescribed combination in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, we tested the interactive effects of simvastatin and losartan on atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E (apoE)-/- mice.
Materials and Methods
Apolipoprotein E-/- mice were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol (HFHC) diet for 12 weeks, with and without simvastatin (40 mg/kg) and/or losartan (20 mg/kg). The mice were divided into 5 groups and were fed as follows: regular chow (control diet, n=5), HFHC diet (n=6), HFHC diet with losartan (n=6), HFHC diet with simvastatin (n=6), and HFHC diet with both losartan and simvastatin (n=6).
Losartan treatment in apoE-/- mice significantly decreased atherosclerotic lesion areas in whole aortic strips stained with Oil Red O. The plaque area measured at the aortic sinus level was reduced significantly by 17% (HFHC; 346830.9±52915.8 µm2 vs. HFHC plus losartan; 255965.3±74057.7 µm2, p<0.05) in the losartan-treated group. Simvastatin and simvastatin plus losartan treatments reduced macrophage infiltration into lesions by 33% (HFHC; 183575.6±43211.2 µm2 vs. HFHC plus simvastatin; 120556.0±39282.8 µm2, p<0.05) and 44% (HFHC; 183575.6±43211.2 µm2 vs. HFHC plus simvastatin and losartan; 103229.0±8473.3 µm2, p<0.001, respectively). In mice fed the HFHC diet alone, the smooth muscle cell layer in the aortic media was almost undetectable. In mice co-treated with losartan and simvastatin, the smooth muscle layer was more than 60% preserved (p<0.05). Given alone, losartan showed a slightly stronger effect than simvastatin; however, treatment with losartan plus simvastatin induced a greater inhibitory effect on atherosclerosis than either drug given alone. Serum lipid profiles did not differ significantly among the groups.
Losartan displayed anti-atherosclerotic effects in apoE-/- mice that were equivalent to or greater than the effects of simvastatin. Combined treatment with these drugs had greater effect than either drug alone.
PMCID: PMC3438264  PMID: 22977450
Atherosclerosis; Losartan; Simvastatin; Mice, knockout; Models, animal
4.  Repolarization Alternans Reveals Vulnerability to Human Atrial Fibrillation 
Circulation  2011;123(25):2922-2930.
The substrates for human atrial fibrillation (AF) are poorly understood but involve abnormal repolarization (action potential duration, APD). We hypothesized that beat-to-beat oscillations in APD may explain AF substrates and why vulnerability to AF forms a spectrum from control subjects without AF to patients with paroxysmal then persistent AF.
Methods and Results
In 33 subjects (12 persistent AF, 13 paroxysmal AF, 8 controls without AF), we recorded left (n=33) and right (n=6) atrial APD on pacing from cycle lengths (CL) 600–500 ms (100–120 beats/min) to AF. APD alternans required progressively faster rates for patients with persistent AF, paroxysmal AF and controls (CL 411±94 vs 372±72 vs 218±33 ms; p<0.01). In AF patients, APD alternans occurred at rates as slow as 100–120 beats/min, unrelated to APD restitution (p=NS). In this milieu, spontaneous ectopy initiated AF. At fast rates, APD alternans disorganized to complex oscillations en route to AF. Complex oscillations also arose at progressively faster rates for persistent AF, paroxysmal AF and controls (CL: 316±99 vs 266±19 vs 177±16 ms; p=0.02). In paroxysmal AF, APD oscillations amplified prior to AF (p<0.001). In controls, APD alternans arose only at very fast rates (CL < 250 ms; p<0.001 vs AF groups) just prior to AF. In n=4 AF patients in whom rapid pacing did not initiate AF, APD alternans arose transiently then extinguished.
Atrial APD alternans reveals dynamic substrates for AF, arising most readily (at lower rates and higher magnitudes) in persistent AF then paroxysmal AF, and least readily in controls. APD alternans preceded all AF episodes, and was absent when AF did not initiate. The cellular mechanisms for APD alternans near resting heart rates require definition.
PMCID: PMC3135656  PMID: 21646498
Atrium; Fibrillation; Action Potentials; Electrophysiology; Remodeling; Alternans; Electrical Restitution
5.  Chronic myocardial infarction promotes atrial action potential alternans, afterdepolarizations, and fibrillation 
Cardiovascular Research  2013;99(1):215-224.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is increased in patients with heart failure resulting from myocardial infarction (MI). We aimed to determine the effects of chronic ventricular MI in rabbits on the susceptibility to AF, and underlying atrial electrophysiological and Ca2+-handling mechanisms.
Methods and results
In Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts, under β-adrenergic stimulation with isoproterenol (ISO; 1 µM), 8 weeks MI decreased AF threshold, indicating increased AF susceptibility. This was associated with increased atrial action potential duration (APD)-alternans at 90% repolarization, by 147%, and no significant change in the mean APD or atrial global conduction velocity (CV; n = 6–13 non-MI hearts, 5–12 MI). In atrial isolated myocytes, also under β-stimulation, L-type Ca2+ current (ICaL) density and intracellular Ca2+-transient amplitude were decreased by MI, by 35 and 41%, respectively, and the frequency of spontaneous depolarizations (SDs) was substantially increased. MI increased atrial myocyte size and capacity, and markedly decreased transverse-tubule density. In non-MI hearts perfused with ISO, the ICaL-blocker nifedipine, at a concentration (0.02 µM) causing an equivalent ICaL reduction (35%) to that from the MI, did not affect AF susceptibility, and decreased APD.
Chronic MI in rabbits remodels atrial structure, electrophysiology, and intracellular Ca2+ handling. Increased susceptibility to AF by MI, under β-adrenergic stimulation, may result from associated production of atrial APD alternans and SDs, since steady-state APD and global CV were unchanged under these conditions, and may be unrelated to the associated reduction in whole-cell ICaL. Future studies may clarify potential contributions of local conduction changes, and cellular and subcellular mechanisms of alternans, to the increased AF susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC3687753  PMID: 23568957
Atrial fibrillation; Myocardial infarction; Action potential alternans; Afterdepolarization; β-Adrenergic stimulation; T-tubule; Calcium
6.  Short-Term Statin Therapy Improves Cardiac Function and Symptoms in Patients With Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy 
Circulation  2003;108(7):839-843.
Chronic heart failure is associated with inflammation and neurohormonal imbalance. The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, or statins, exert anti-inflammatory and vascular protective effects. We hypothesized that short-term statin therapy may have beneficial effects in patients with nonischemic heart failure.
Methods and Results
Sixty-three patients with symptomatic, nonischemic, dilated cardiomyopathy were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group received simvastatin (n=24), and the other group received placebo (n=27). The initial dose of simvastatin was 5 mg/d, which was increased to 10 mg/d after 4 weeks. After 14 weeks, patients receiving simvastatin exhibited a modest reduction in serum cholesterol level compared with patients receiving placebo (130±13 versus 148±18, P<0.05). Patients treated with simvastatin had a lower New York Heart Association functional class compared with patients receiving placebo (2.04±0.06 versus 2.32±0.05, P<0.01). This corresponded to improved left ventricular ejection fraction in the simvastatin group (34±3 to 41±4%, P<0.05) but not in the placebo group. Furthermore, plasma concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, and brain natriuretic peptide were significantly lower in the simvastatin group compared with the placebo group.
Short-term statin therapy improves cardiac function, neurohormonal imbalance, and symptoms associated with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. These findings suggest that statins may have therapeutic benefits in patients with heart failure irrespective of serum cholesterol levels or atherosclerotic heart disease.
PMCID: PMC2665260  PMID: 12885745
heart failure; statins; cholesterol; endothelium; inflammation
7.  Effects of KATP channel openers diazoxide and pinacidil in coronary-perfused atria and ventricles from failing and non-failing human hearts 
This study compared the effects of ATP-regulated potassium channel (KATP) openers, diazoxide and pinacidil, on diseased and normal human atria and ventricles.
We optically mapped the endocardium of coronary-perfused right (n=11) or left (n=2) posterior atrial-ventricular free wall preparations from human hearts with congestive heart failure (CHF, n=8) and non-failing human hearts without (NF, n=3) or with (INF, n=2) infarction. We also analyzed the mRNA expression of the KATP targets Kir6.1, Kir6.2, SUR1, and SUR2 in the left atria and ventricles of NF (n=8) and CHF (n=4) hearts.
In both CHF and INF hearts, diazoxide significantly decreased action potential durations (APDs) in atria (by −21±3% and −27±13%, p<0.01) and ventricles (by −28±7% and −28±4%, p<0.01). Diazoxide did not change APD (0±5%) in NF atria. Pinacidil significantly decreased APDs in both atria (−46 to - 80%, p<0.01) and ventricles (−65 to −93%, p<0.01) in all hearts studied. The effect of pinacidil on APD was significantly higher than that of diazoxide in both atria and ventricles of all groups (p<0.05). During pinacidil perfusion, burst pacing induced flutter/fibrillation in all atrial and ventricular preparations with dominant frequencies of 14.4±6.1 Hz and 17.5 ±5.1 Hz, respectively. Glibenclamide (10 μM) terminated these arrhythmias and restored APDs to control values. Relative mRNA expression levels of KATP targets were correlated to functional observations.
Remodeling in response to CHF and/or previous infarct potentiated diazoxide-induced APD shortening. The activation of atrial and ventricular KATP channels enhances arrhythmogenicity, suggesting that such activation may contribute to reentrant arrhythmias in ischemic hearts.
PMCID: PMC3124600  PMID: 21586291
human heart; IKATP; ischemic heart disease; heart failure; arrhythmias; optical mapping
8.  Effect of statin treatments on highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, seasonal and H1N1pdm09 virus infections in BALB/c mice 
Future virology  2012;7(8):801-818.
Statins are used to control elevated cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia, but have previously been reported to have antiviral properties.
To show efficacy of statins in various influenza virus mouse models.
Materials & methods
BALB/c mice were treated intraperitoneally or orally with several types of statins (simvastatin, lovastatin, mevastatin, pitavastatin, atorvastatin or rosuvastatin) at various concentrations before or after infection with either influenza A/Duck/ MN/1525/81 H5N1 virus, influenza A/Vietnam/1203/2004 H5N1 virus, influenza A/ Victoria/3/75 H3N2 virus, influenza A/NWS/33 H1N1 virus or influenza A/CA/04/09 H1N1pdm09 virus.
The statins administered intraperitoneally or orally at any dose did not significantly enhance the total survivors relative to untreated controls. In addition, infected mice receiving any concentration of statin were not protected against weight loss due to the infection. None of the statins significantly increased the mean day of death relative to mice in the placebo treatment group. Furthermore, the statins had relatively few ameliorative effects on lung pathology or lung weights at day 3 and 6 after virus exposure, although mice treated with simvastatin did have improved lung function as measured by arterial saturated oxygen levels in one experiment.
Statins showed relatively little efficacy in any mouse model used by any parameter tested.
PMCID: PMC3571729  PMID: 23420457
anti-inflammatory; atorvastatin; BALB/c mouse; influenza virus; lovastatin; mevastatin; pitavastatin; rosuvastatin; simvastatin; statin
9.  Efficacy, safety and tolerability of ongoing statin plus ezetimibe versus doubling the ongoing statin dose in hypercholesterolemic Taiwanese patients: an open-label, randomized clinical trial 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:251.
Reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is associated with reduced risk for major coronary events. Despite statin efficacy, a considerable proportion of statin-treated hypercholesterolemic patients fail to reach therapeutic LDL-C targets as defined by guidelines. This study compared the efficacy of ezetimibe added to ongoing statins with doubling the dose of ongoing statin in a population of Taiwanese patients with hypercholesterolemia.
This was a randomized, open-label, parallel-group comparison study of ezetimibe 10 mg added to ongoing statin compared with doubling the dose of ongoing statin. Adult Taiwanese hypercholesterolemic patients not at optimal LDL-C levels with previous statin treatment were randomized (N = 83) to ongoing statin + ezetimibe (simvastatin, atorvastatin or pravastatin + ezetimibe at doses of 20/10, 10/10 or 20/10 mg) or doubling the dose of ongoing statin (simvastatin 40 mg, atorvastatin 20 mg or pravastatin 40 mg) for 8 weeks. Percent change in total cholesterol, LDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides, and specified safety parameters were assessed at 4 and 8 weeks.
At 8 weeks, patients treated with statin + ezetimibe experienced significantly greater reductions compared with doubling the statin dose in LDL-C (26.2% vs 17.9%, p = 0.0026) and total cholesterol (20.8% vs 12.2%, p = 0.0003). Percentage of patients achieving treatment goal was greater for statin + ezetimibe (58.6%) vs doubling statin (41.2%), but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.1675). The safety and tolerability profiles were similar between treatments.
Ezetimibe added to ongoing statin therapy resulted in significantly greater lipid-lowering compared with doubling the dose of statin in Taiwanese patients with hypercholesterolemia. Studies to assess clinical outcome benefit are ongoing.
Trial registration
Registered at NCT00652327
PMCID: PMC3403927  PMID: 22621316
Ezetimibe; Simvastatin; Atorvastatin; Pravastatin
10.  Small-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channel and Recurrent Ventricular Fibrillation in Failing Rabbit Ventricles 
Circulation research  2011;108(8):971-979.
Fibrillation-defibrillation episodes in failing ventricles may be followed by action potential duration (APD) shortening and recurrent spontaneous ventricular fibrillation (SVF).
We hypothesized that activation of apamin-sensitive small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels are responsible for the postshock APD shortening in failing ventricles.
Methods and Results
A rabbit model of tachycardia-induced heart failure was used. Simultaneous optical mapping of intracellular Ca2+ and membrane potential (Vm) was performed in failing and non-failing ventricles. Three failing ventricles developed SVF (SVF group), 9 did not (no-SVF group). None of the 10 non-failing ventricles developed SVF. Increased pacing rate and duration augmented the magnitude of APD shortening. Apamin (1 μmol/L) eliminated recurrent SVF, increased postshock APD80 in SVF group from 126±5 ms to 153±4 ms (p<0.05), in no-SVF group from147±2 ms to 162±3 ms (p<0.05) but did not change of APD80 in non-failing group. Whole cell patch-clamp studies at 36°C showed that the apamin-sensitive K+ current (IKAS) density was significantly larger in the failing than in the normal ventricular epicardial myocytes, and epicardial IKAS density is significantly higher than midmyocardial and endocardial myocytes. Steady-state Ca2+ response of IKAS was leftward-shifted in the failing cells compared with the normal control cells, indicating increased Ca2+ sensitivity of IKAS in failing ventricles. The Kd was 232 ± 5 nM for failing myocytes and 553 ± 78 nM for normal myocytes (p = 0.002).
Heart failure heterogeneously increases the sensitivity of IKAS to intracellular Ca2+, leading to upregulation of IKAS, postshock APD shortening and recurrent SVF.
PMCID: PMC3086382  PMID: 21350217
arrhythmia; intracellular calcium; ion channels; ventricular fibrillation
11.  Cross sectional survey of effectiveness of lipid lowering drugs in reducing serum cholesterol concentration in patients in 17 general practices 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7391):689.
To compare the effectiveness of lipid lowering drugs in lowering serum cholesterol concentrations.
Cross sectional study.
17 practices within 17 primary care groups in Trent region, United Kingdom.
Patients aged 35 years or over taking lipid lowering drugs and with at least two serum cholesterol concentrations recorded on computer.
Main outcome measures
Proportion of patients achieving serum cholesterol concentration of ⩽5 mmol/l and mean percentage reduction in serum cholesterol concentration.
1353 of 2469 (54.8%) patients receiving lipid lowering treatment had a last recorded serum cholesterol concentration of ⩽5 mmol/l. Significantly more patients taking statins achieved the target value for serum cholesterol (5 mmol/l) than those taking fibrates (1307 (57%) v 46 (26%); P<0.0001). Atorvastatin and simvastatin were the most effective drugs in achieving the target. Significant differences were found between lipid lowering drugs for the pretreatment serum cholesterol concentration, the most recent cholesterol concentration, and the associated percentage reduction. Atorvastatin and simvastatin achieved the greatest percentage reduction in serum cholesterol concentrations (30.1%, 95% confidence interval 28.8% to 31.4%, and 28.0%, 26.7% to 29.3%, respectively). Although the mean serum cholesterol concentrations in this unselected population tended to be higher than those in clinical trials, the percentage reduction was consistent with the trials.
The ability of individual statins to lower serum cholesterol concentration varied, with atorvastatin and simvastatin being the most effective. The percentage reductions agreed with those of randomised controlled trials indicating likely benefits in unselected patients in primary care. As the initial serum cholesterol concentrations were higher than those in randomised controlled trials, target serum cholesterol values of ⩽5 mmol/l may be unrealistic even for patients taking the most efficacious drugs. Also, the higher initial levels could mean that the absolute reduction in cardiovascular risk in primary care patients is greater than thought.
What is already known on this topicStatins in patients with coronary heart disease help reduce further cardiovascular events and improve survivalThis seems to be a class effect of statins, although there may be important differences in effectiveness between themLess than half of patients in the community who take lipid lowering drugs achieve target serum cholesterol valuesWhat this study addsStatins vary in their ability to lower serum cholesterol concentration, with atorvastatin and simvastatin achieving the best resultsThe percentage reductions agreed with those found in randomised controlled trialsSince the initial serum cholesterol concentrations were higher than in trials, absolute risk reductions in primary care patients may be greater than thoughtTarget values of ⩽5 mmol/l may be unrealistic even for patients on the most efficacious drugs, because the initial mean cholesterol values of primary care patients are higher than those of patients in trials
PMCID: PMC152367  PMID: 12663406
12.  Statin and Resveratrol in Combination induces Cardioprotection against Myocardial Infarction in Hypercholesterolemic Rat 
Hypercholesterolemia (HC) is a common health problem that significantly increases risk of cardiovascular disease. Both statin (S) and resveratrol (R) demonstrated cardioprotection through nitric oxide dependent mechanism. Therefore the present study was undertaken to determine whether combination therapy with statin and resveratrol are more cardioprotective than individual treatment groups in ischemic rat heart model. The rats were fed rats with 2% high cholesterol diet and after 8 weeks of high cholesterol diet the animals were treated with statin (1mg/kg bw/day) and resveratrol (20mg/kg bw/day) for 2 weeks. The rats were assigned to: 1) Control (C) 2) HC 3) HCR 4) HCS and 5) HCRS. The hearts, subjected to 30 min global ischemia followed by 120 min reperfusion were used as experimental model. The left ventricular functional recovery (+dp/dt) was found to be significantly better in the HCRS (1926±43), HCR (1556±65) and HCS (1635±40) compared to HC group (1127±16). The infarct size in the HCRS, HCS and HCR groups were 37±3.6, 43±3.3 and 44±4.2 respectively compared to 53±4.6 in HC. The lipid level was found to be decreased in all the treatment groups when compared to HC more significantly in HCS and HCRS groups when compared to HCR. Increased phosphorylation of Akt and eNOS was also observed in all the treatment groups resulting in decreased extent of cardiomyocyte apoptosis but the extent of reduction in apoptosis was more significant in HCRS group compared to all other groups. In-vivo rat myocardial infarction (MI) model subjected to one week of permanent left descending coronary artery (LAD) occlusion documented increased capillary density in HCR and HCRS treated group when compared to HCS treatment group. We also documented increased β-catenin translocation and increased VEGF mRNA expression in all treatment groups. Thus, we conclude that the acute as well as chronic protection afforded by combination treatment with statin and resveratrol may be due to pro-angiogenic, anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-apoptotic effects and long term effects may be caused by increased neovascularization of the MI zone leading to less ventricular remodeling.
PMCID: PMC1857339  PMID: 17188708
statin; resveratrol; cholesterol; myocardium; Akt; eNOS; VEGF; β-catenin
13.  Simvastatin ameliorates radiation enteropathy development after localized, fractionated irradiation by a protein C-independent mechanism 
Microvascular injury plays a key role in normal tissue radiation responses. Statins, in addition to their lipid-lowering effects, have vasculoprotective properties that may counteract some effects of radiation on normal tissues. We examined whether administration of simvastatin ameliorates intestinal radiation injury, and whether the effect depends on protein C activation.
Rats received localized, fractionated small bowel irradiation. The animals were fed either regular chow or chow containing simvastatin from 2 weeks before irradiation until termination of the experiment. Groups of rats were euthanized at 2 weeks and 26 weeks for assessment of early and delayed radiation injury by quantitative histology, morphometry, and quantitative immunohistochemistry. Dependency on protein C activation was examined in TM mutant mice with deficient ability to activate protein C.
Simvastatin administration was associated with lower radiation injury scores (p<0.0001), improved mucosal preservation (p=0.0009), and reduced thickening of the intestinal wall and subserosa (p=0.008 and p=0.004), neutrophil infiltration (p=0.04), and accumulation of collagen I (p=0.0003). The effect of simvastatin was consistently more pronounced for delayed than for early injury. Surprisingly, simvastatin reduced intestinal radiation injury in TM mutant mice, indicating that the enteroprotective effect of simvastatin after localized irradiation is unrelated to protein C activation.
Simvastatin ameliorates the intestinal radiation response. The radioprotective effect of simvastatin after localized small bowel irradiation does not appear to be related to protein C activation. Statins should undergo clinical testing as a strategy to minimize side effects of radiation on the intestine and other normal tissues.
PMCID: PMC2000701  PMID: 17674978
Endothelium; Intestine; Radiation injuries; Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors
The obese Zucker rat (OZR) model of the metabolic syndrome is partly characterized by moderate hypercholesterolemia in addition to other contributing co-morbidities. Previous results suggest that vascular dysfunction in OZR is associated with chronic reduction in vascular nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and chronic inflammation, both frequently associated with hypercholesterolemia. As such, we evaluated the impact of chronic cholesterol reducing therapy on the development of impaired skeletal muscle arteriolar reactivity and microvessel density in OZR and its impact on chronic inflammation and NO bioavailability.
Materials and Methods
Beginning at 7 weeks of age, male OZR were treated with gemfibrozil, probucol, atorvastatin or simvastatin (in chow) for 10 weeks. Subsequently, plasma and vascular samples were collected for biochemical/molecular analyses, while arteriolar reactivity and microvessel network structure were assessed using established methodologies after 3, 6 and 10 weeks of drug therapy
All interventions were equally effective at reducing total cholesterol, although only the statins also blunted the progressive reductions to vascular NO bioavailability, evidenced by greater maintenance of acetylcholine-induced dilator responses, an attenuation of adrenergic constrictor reactivity, and an improvement in agonist-induced NO production. Comparably, while minimal improvements to arteriolar wall mechanics were identified with any of the interventions, chronic statin treatment reduced the rate of microvessel rarefaction in OZR. Associated with these improvements was a striking statin-induced reduction in inflammation in OZR, such that numerous markers of inflammation were correlated with improved microvascular reactivity and density. However, using multivariate discriminant analyses, plasma RANTES, IL-10, MCP-1 and TNF-α were determined to be the strongest contributors to differences between groups, although their relative importance varied with time.
While the positive impact of chronic statin treatment on vascular outcomes in the metabolic syndrome are independent of changes to total cholesterol, and are more strongly associated with improvements to vascular NO bioavailability and attenuated inflammation, these results provide both a spatial and temporal framework for targeted investigation into mechanistic determinants of vasculopathy in the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3335395  PMID: 19905967
regulation of skeletal muscle perfusion; vascular remodeling; vascular reactivity; rodent models of obesity; nitric oxide bioavailability; chronic inflammation
15.  Effect of Coenzyme Q10 and green tea on plasma and liver lipids, platelet aggregation, TBARS production and erythrocyte Na leak in simvastatin treated hypercholesterolmic rats 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2007;1(4):298-304.
This study was conducted to investigate the hypocholesterolemic effect of simvastatin (30 mg/kg BW) and antioxidant effect of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, 15 mg/kg BW) or green tea (5%) on erythrocyte Na leak, platelet aggregation and TBARS production in hypercholesterolemic rats treated with statin. Food efficiency ratio (FER, ADG/ADFI) was decreased in statin group and increased in green tea group, and the difference between these two groups was significant (p<0.05). Plasma total cholesterol was somewhat increased in all groups with statin compared with control. Plasma triglyceride was decreased in statin group and increased in groups of CoQ10 and green tea, and the difference between groups of statin and green tea was significant (p<0.05). Liver total cholesterol was not different between the control and statin group, but was significantly decreased in the group with green tea compared with other groups (p<0.05). Liver triglyceride was decreased in groups of statin and green tea compared with the control, and the difference between groups of the control and green tea was significant (p<0.05). Platelet aggregation of both the initial slope and the maximum was not significantly different, but the group with green tea tended to be higher in initial slope and lower in the maximum. Intracellular Na of group with green tea was significantly higher than the control or statin group (p<0.05). Na leak in intact cells was significantly decreased in the statin group compared with the control (p<0.05). Na leak in AAPH treated cells was also significantly reduced in the statin group compared with groups of the control and CoQ10 (p<0.05). TBARS production in platelet rich plasma was significantly decreased in the groups with CoQ10 and green tea compared with the control and statin groups (p<0.05). TBARS of liver was significantly decreased in the group with green tea compared with the statin group (p<0.05). In the present study, even a high dose of statin did not show a cholesterol lowering effect, therefore depletion of CoQ10 following statin treatment in rats is not clear. More clinical studies are needed for therapeutic use of CoQ10 as an antioxidant in prevention of degenerative diseases independent of statin therapy.
PMCID: PMC2849038  PMID: 20368954
Simvastatin; CoQ10; cholesterol; erythrocyte Na leak; platelet aggregation; TBARS production
16.  Effects of 4-week administration of simvastatin in different doses on heart rate and blood pressure after metoprolol injection in normocholesterolaemic and normotensive rats 
Statins and β1-adrenergic antagonists are well established in cardiovascular events therapy and prevention. The previous study showed that statins might impact on β-adrenergic signalling and blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of 4-week administration of simvastatin given at different doses on the heart rate and blood pressure after injection of metoprolol in rats.
Material and methods
The experiments were performed in normocholesterolaemic and normotensive Wistar rats. Rats received simvastatin in doses of 1, 10 and 20 mg/kg body weight (bw) for 4 weeks. The control group received 0.2% methylcellulose. For the further estimation of the heart rate and blood pressure, metoprolol at 5 mg/kg bw or 0.9% NaCl was injected intraperitoneally.
Simvastatin at doses of 1, 10 and 20 mg/kg bw did not influence the heart rate or blood pressure as compared to the control group. Metoprolol injection statistically significantly decreased the heart rate (439.29±14.03 min−1 vs. 374.41±13.32 min−1; p<0.05). In rats receiving simvastatin during the 4-week period after metoprolol injection, heart rate and blood pressure (mean, systolic, diastolic) were similar as compared to the group receiving metoprolol alone.
Simvastatin administration during a 4-week period in different doses did not influence the heart rate or blood pressure after metoprolol injection in normocholesterolaemic and normotensive rats.
PMCID: PMC3309431  PMID: 22457669
rats; simvastatin; metoprolol; heart rate; blood pressure
17.  Impact of oral simvastatin therapy on acute lung injury in mice during pneumococcal pneumonia 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:73.
Recent studies suggest that the reported protective effects of statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) against community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and sepsis in humans may be due to confounders and a healthy user-effect. To directly test whether statins are protective against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the leading cause of CAP, we examined the impact of prolonged oral simvastatin therapy at physiologically relevant doses in a mouse model of pneumococcal pneumonia. BALB/c mice were placed on rodent chow containing 0 mg/kg (control), 12 mg/kg (low simvastatin diet [LSD]; corresponds to 1.0 mg/kg/day), or 120 mg/kg (high simvastatin diet [HSD]; corresponds to 10 mg/kg/day) simvastatin for four weeks, infected intratracheally with S. pneumoniae serotype 4 strain TIGR4, and sacrificed at 24, 36, or 42 h post-infection for assessment of lung histology, cytokine production, vascular leakage and edema, bacterial burden and bloodstream dissemination. Some mice received ampicillin at 12-h intervals beginning at 48 h post-infection and were monitored for survival. Immunoblots of homogenized lung samples was used to assess ICAM-1 production.
Mice receiving HSD had reduced lung consolidation characterized by less macrophage and neutrophil infiltration and a significant reduction in the chemokines MCP-1 (P = 0.03) and KC (P = 0.02) and ICAM-1 in the lungs compared to control mice. HSD mice also had significantly lower bacterial titers in the blood at 36 (P = 0.007) and 42 (P = 0.03) hours post-infection versus controls. LSD had a more modest effect against S. pneumoniae but also resulted in reduced bacterial titers in the lungs and blood of mice after 42 h and a reduced number of infiltrated neutrophils. Neither LSD nor HSD mice had reduced mortality in a pneumonia model where mice received ampicillin 48 h after challenge.
Prolonged oral simvastatin therapy had a strong dose-dependent effect on protection against S. pneumoniae as evidenced by reduced neutrophil infiltration, maintenance of vascular integrity, and lowered chemokine production in the lungs of mice on HSD. Statin therapy also protected through reduced bacterial burden in the lungs. Despite these protective correlates, mortality in the simvastatin-receiving cohorts was equivalent to controls. Thus, oral simvastatin at physiologically relevant doses only modestly protects against pneumococcal pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC3438118  PMID: 22587610
18.  Pharmacokinetic drug–drug interactions between 1,4-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers and statins: factors determining interaction strength and relevant clinical risk management 
Coadministration of 1,4-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers (DHP-CCBs) with statins (or 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A [HMG-CoA] reductase inhibitors) is common for patients with hypercholesterolemia and hypertension. To reduce the risk of myopathy, in 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Drug Safety Communication set a new dose limitation for simvastatin, for patients taking simvastatin concomitantly with amlodipine. However, there is no such dose limitation for atorvastatin for patients receiving amlodipine. The combination pill formulation of amlodipine/atorvastatin is available on the market. There been no systematic review of the pharmacokinetic drug–drug interaction (DDI) profile of DHP-CCBs with statins, the underlying mechanisms for DDIs of different degree, or the corresponding management of clinical risk.
The relevant literature was identified by performing a PubMed search, covering the period from January 1987 to September 2013. Studies in the field of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics that described DDIs between DHP-CCB and statin or that directly compared the degree of DDIs associated with cytochrome P450 (CYP)3A4-metabolized statins or DHP-CCBs were included. The full text of each article was critically reviewed, and data interpretation was performed.
There were three circumstances related to pharmacokinetic DDIs in the combined use of DHP-CCB and statin: 1) statin is comedicated as the precipitant drug (pravastatin–nimodipine and lovastatin–nicardipine); 2) statin is comedicated as the object drug (isradipine–lovastatin, lacidipine–simvastatin, amlodipine–simvastatin, benidipine-simvastatin, azelnidipine– simvastatin, lercanidipine–simvastatin, and amlodipine–atorvastatin); and 3) mutual interactions (lercanidipine–fluvastatin). Simvastatin has an extensive first-pass effect in the intestinal wall, whereas atorvastatin has a smaller intestinal first-pass effect. The interaction with simvastatin seems mainly driven by CYP3A4 inhibition at the intestinal level, whereas the interaction with atorvastatin is more due to hepatic CYP3A4 inhibition. The interaction of CYP3A4 inhibitor with simvastatin has been more pronounced compared with atorvastatin. From the current data, atorvastatin seems to be a safer CYP3A4-statin for comedication with DHP-CCB. There is no convincing evidence that amlodipine is an unusual DHP-CCB, either as a precipitant drug or as an object drug, from the perspective of CYP3A4-mediated drug metabolism. Amlodipine may have interactions with CYP3A5 in addition to CYP3A4, which may explain its particular characteristics in comparison with other DHP-CCBs. The degree of DDIs between the DHP-CCB and statin and the clinical outcome depends on many factors, such as the kind of statin, physicochemical proprieties of the DHP-CCB, the dose of either the precipitant drug or the object drug, the sex of the patient (eg, isradipine–lovastatin), route of drug administration (eg, oral versus intravenous nicardipine–lovastatin), the administration schedule (eg, nonconcurrent dosing method versus concurrent dosing method), and the pharmacogenetic status (eg, CYP3A5-nonexpressers versus CYP3A5-expressers).
Clinical professionals should enhance risk management regarding the combination use of two classes of drugs by increasing their awareness of the potential changes in therapeutic efficacy and adverse drug reactions, by rationally prescribing alternatives, by paying attention to dose adjustment and the administration schedule, and by review of the appropriateness of physician orders. Further study is needed – the DDIs between DHP-CCBs and statins have not all been studied in humans, from either a pharmacokinetic or a clinical perspective; also, the strength of the different pharmacokinetic interactions of DHP-CCBs with statins should be addressed by systematic investigations.
PMCID: PMC3873236  PMID: 24379677
CYP3A4; 1,4-dihydropyridine; drug–drug interactions; HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors; myopathy; polypharmacy; physicochemical phenomena; prescription auditing
19.  Enhanced Transmural Fiber Rotation and Connexin 43 Heterogeneity Are Associated With an Increased Upper Limit of Vulnerability in a Transgenic Rabbit Model of Human Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 
Circulation research  2007;101(10):1049-1057.
Human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, characterized by cardiac hypertrophy and myocyte disarray, is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in the young. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is often caused by mutations in sarcomeric genes. We sought to determine arrhythmia propensity and underlying mechanisms contributing to arrhythmia in a transgenic (TG) rabbit model (β-myosin heavy chain–Q403) of human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Langendorff-perfused hearts from TG (n = 6) and wild-type (WT) rabbits (n = 6) were optically mapped. The upper and lower limits of vulnerability, action potential duration (APD) restitution, and conduction velocity were measured. The transmural fiber angle shift was determined using diffusion tensor MRI. The transmural distribution of connexin 43 was quantified with immunohistochemistry. The upper limit of vulnerability was significantly increased in TG versus WT hearts (13.3 ± 2.1 versus 7.4 ± 2.3 V/cm; P = 3.2e−5), whereas the lower limits of vulnerability were similar. APD restitution, conduction velocities, and anisotropy were also similar. Left ventricular transmural fiber rotation was significantly higher in TG versus WT hearts (95.6 ± 10.9° versus 79.2 ± 7.8°; P = 0.039). The connexin 43 density was significantly increased in the mid-myocardium of TG hearts compared with WT (5.46 ± 2.44% versus 2.68 ± 0.77%; P = 0.024), and similar densities were observed in the endo- and epicardium. Because a nearly 2-fold increase in upper limit of vulnerability was observed in the TG hearts without significant changes in APD restitution, conduction velocity, or the anisotropy ratio, we conclude that structural remodeling may underlie the elevated upper limit of vulnerability in human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC2366809  PMID: 17885214
arrhythmia; vulnerability; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; transgenic rabbit
20.  Mechanisms of Recurrent Ventricular Fibrillation in a Rabbit Model of Pacing-Induced Heart Failure 
To determine the mechanisms of spontaneous ventricular fibrillation (SVF) after initial successful defibrillation in a rabbit model of heart failure (HF).
Successful defibrillation may be followed by recurrent SVF. The mechanisms of postshock SVF are unclear.
We performed simultaneous optical mapping of intracellular calcium (Cai) and membrane potential (Vm) in 12 rabbit hearts with chronic pacing-induced heart failure, in 4 sham operated hearts and in 5 normal hearts during fibrillation-defibrillation episodes.
We recorded 28 SVF episodes after initial successful defibrillation in 4 failing hearts (SVF Group) but not in the remaining 8 failing hearts (no-SVF Group) or in the normal or sham operated hearts. The action potential duration (APD80) before pacing-induced VF was 209±9 ms (SVF-Group) and 212±14 ms (no-SVF Group, P=NS). After successful defibrillation, the APD80 in SVF Group shortened to 147±26 ms while in no-SVF Group shortened to 176±14 ms (P=0.04). However, the duration of Cai after defibrillation was not different between these two groups (246±21 ms vs. 241±17 ms, p=NS), resulting in elevated Cai during late phase 3 or phase 4 of the action potential. Standard glass microelectrode recording in an additional 5 failing hearts confirmed postshock APD shortening and afterdepolarizations. The APD80 of normal and sham operated hearts was not shortened after defibrillation.
HF promotes acute shortening of the APD immediately after termination of VF in failing hearts. Persistent Cai elevation during the late phase 3 and phase 4 of the shortened action potential result in afterdepolarizations, triggered activity and SVF.
PMCID: PMC2752449  PMID: 19467505
heart failure; action potential duration; intracellular calcium; spontaneous ventricular fibrillation; electrophysiology; sudden cardiac death
21.  The effect of statins on testosterone in men and women, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:57.
Statins are extensively used for cardiovascular disease prevention. Statins reduce mortality rates more than other lipid-modulating drugs, although evidence from randomized controlled trials also suggests that statins unexpectedly increase the risk of diabetes and improve immune function. Physiologically, statins would be expected to lower androgens because statins inhibit production of the substrate for the local synthesis of androgens and statins' pleiotropic effects are somewhat similar to the physiological effects of lowering testosterone, so we hypothesized that statins lower testosterone.
A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled randomized trials of statins to test the a priori hypothesis that statins lower testosterone. We searched the PubMed, Medline and ISI Web of Science databases until the end of 2011, using '(Testosterone OR androgen) AND (CS-514 OR statin OR simvastatin OR atorvastatin OR fluvastatin OR lovastatin OR rosuvastatin OR pravastatin)' restricted to randomized controlled trials in English, supplemented by a bibliographic search. We included studies with durations of 2+ weeks reporting changes in testosterone. Two reviewers independently searched, selected and assessed study quality. Two statisticians independently abstracted and analyzed data, using random or fixed effects models, as appropriate, with inverse variance weighting.
Of the 29 studies identified 11 were eligible. In 5 homogenous trials of 501 men, mainly middle aged with hypercholesterolemia, statins lowered testosterone by -0.66 nmol/l (95% confidence interval (CI) -0.14 to -1.18). In 6 heterogeneous trials of 368 young women with polycystic ovary syndrome, statins lowered testosterone by -0.40 nmol/l (95% CI -0.05 to -0.75). Overall statins lowered testosterone by -0.44 nmol/l (95% CI -0.75 to -0.13).
Statins may partially operate by lowering testosterone. Whether this is a detrimental side effect or mode of action warrants investigation given the potential implications for drug development and prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases.
See commentary article here
PMCID: PMC3621815  PMID: 23448151
androgen; cardiovascular; cholesterol; diabetes; inflammation; statins; testosterone
22.  Transmural Optical Measurements of Vm Dynamics during Long-Duration Ventricular Fibrillation in Canine Hearts 
Knowledge of transmural Vm changes is important for understanding the mechanism of long-duration ventricular fibrillation (LDVF).
Vm was recorded optically at up to 8 transmural points separated by 1.5 mm in the left ventricle of Langendorff-perfused canine hearts (n=6) using a bundle of optical fibers (optrode) during 10 min of LDVF followed by 3 min of VF with reperfusion. Measurements were grouped into 4 layers: epicardium, sub-epicardium, midwall and sub-endocardium.
Activation rates (ARs) and action potential durations (APDs) decreased while diastolic intervals (DIs) increased during LDVF in all transmural layers (p<0.05). After ~3 min of LDVF, ARs were faster and DIs shorter in the midwall and sub-endocardium than in the epicardium and sub-epicardium (p<0.05). Activations persisted at the sub-endocardium but disappeared from other layers after ~8 min of VF in the majority of hearts. There were no transmural differences in APD during LDVF or during pacing before and after LDVF (p>0.05). Restitution plots revealed no functional relationship between APD and DI in any layer at any stage of LDVF. Partial reperfusion during VF for 3 min restored transmural synchronicity of activation and eliminated gradients in activation parameters.
Vm dynamics evolve differently at different transmural layers. The sub-endocardium maintains persistent and the fastest activation during 10 min of LDVF suggesting it contains the source of VF wavefronts. There are no transmural APD gradients and no restitution relationship between APD and DI at any transmural layer indicating these are not the primary factors in the mechanism of LDVF.
PMCID: PMC2716218  PMID: 19467507
ventricular fibrillation; transmural activation; optrode; optical mapping
23.  Regional differences in APD restitution can initiate wavebreak and re-entry in cardiac tissue: A computational study 
Regional differences in action potential duration (APD) restitution in the heart favour arrhythmias, but the mechanism is not well understood.
We simulated a 150 × 150 mm 2D sheet of cardiac ventricular tissue using a simplified computational model. We investigated wavebreak and re-entry initiated by an S1S2S3 stimulus protocol in tissue sheets with two regions, each with different APD restitution. The two regions had a different APD at short diastolic interval (DI), but similar APD at long DI. Simulations were performed twice; once with both regions having steep (slope > 1), and once with both regions having flat (slope < 1) APD restitution.
Wavebreak and re-entry were readily initiated using the S1S2S3 protocol in tissue sheets with two regions having different APD restitution properties. Initiation occurred irrespective of whether the APD restitution slopes were steep or flat. With steep APD restitution, the range of S2S3 intervals resulting in wavebreak increased from 1 ms with S1S2 of 250 ms, to 75 ms (S1S2 180 ms). With flat APD restitution, the range of S2S3 intervals resulting in wavebreak increased from 1 ms (S1S2 250 ms), to 21 ms (S1S2 340 ms) and then 11 ms (S1S2 400 ms).
Regional differences in APD restitution are an arrhythmogenic substrate that can be concealed at normal heart rates. A premature stimulus produces regional differences in repolarisation, and a further premature stimulus can then result in wavebreak and initiate re-entry. This mechanism for initiating re-entry is independent of the steepness of the APD restitution curve.
PMCID: PMC1261529  PMID: 16174290
24.  Antiarrhythmic Effects of Simvastatin in Canine Pulmonary Vein Sleeve Preparations 
To determine the electrophysiologic effects of simvastatin in canine pulmonary vein (PV) sleeve preparations.
Ectopic activity arising from the PV plays a prominent role in the development of atrial fibrillation (AF).
Transmembrane action potentials were recorded from canine superfused left superior or inferior PV sleeves using standard microelectrode techniques. Acetylcholine (ACh, 1 μM), isoproterenol (1 μM), high calcium ([Ca2+]o=5.4mM) or a combination was used to induce early or delayed afterdepolarizations (EADs or DADs) and triggered activity. Voltage clamp experiments were performed in the left atrium measuring fast and late sodium currents.
Under steady-state conditions, simvastatin (10 nM, n=9) induced a small increase in action potential duration measured at 85% repolarization (APD85) and a significant decrease in action potential amplitude, take-off potential, and maximum rate of rise of action potential upstroke at the fastest rates. Vmax decreased from 175.1 ± 34 to 151.7 ± 28 V/s and from 142 ± 47 to 97.4 ± 39 V/s at basic cycle lengths of 300 and 200 ms, respectively. Simvastatin (10-20 nM) eliminated DADs and DAD-induced triggered activity in 7 of 7 PV sleeve preparations and eliminated or reduced late-phase 3 EADs in 6 of 6 PV sleeve preparations. Simvastatin (20 nM) did not affect late or fast sodium currents.
Our data suggest that in addition to its upstream actions to reduce atrial structural remodeling, simvastatin exerts a direct antiarrhythmic effect by suppressing triggers responsible for the genesis of AF.
PMCID: PMC3058742  PMID: 21329846
Atrial fibrillation; Antiarrhythmic drugs; Sodium channel blocker; Electrophysiology; Pharmacology; Statins
25.  Concomitant administration of simvastatin with ivabradine in contrast to metoprolol intensifies slowing of heart rate in normo- and hypercholesterolemic rats 
β-Blockers play a significant role in therapeutic heart rate (HR) management and angina control. In patients who are unable to tolerate β-blockers ivabradine could be particularly useful. The aim of the study was to establish whether concomitant administration of simvastatin with ivabradine or metoprolol had any effect on rat HR and blood pressure (BP).
Material and methods
The experiments were performed in hyper- and normocholesterolemic outbred Wistar rats. Animals were divided into 2 groups: receiving during 4 weeks normal diet (normocholesterolemic rats) or diet with 5% cholesterol and 2.5% cholic acid (hypercholesterolemic rats). Then rats received placebo (0.1% methylcellulose), 2) metoprolol 30 mg/kg bw; 3) ivabradine 10 mg/kg bw; 4) simvastatin 10 mg/kg bw; 5) simvastatin 10 mg/kg bw + metoprolol 30 mg/kg bw; 6) simvastatin 10 mg/kg bw + ivabradine 10 mg/kg bw. Drugs were given during a 4-week period. HR and BP measure were provided by an Isotec pressure transducer connected to a direct current bridge amplifier. For the further lipid profile examination, 0.25 ml of blood samples were taken.
After administration of ivabradine with simvastatin to normocholesterolemic and hypercholesterolemic rats the mean HR was significantly reduced as compared to rats receiving simvastatin (312.0 ±30.2 min−1 vs. 430.7 ±27.8 min−1, p<0.05); (329.8 ±24.2 min−1 vs. 420.5 ±9.2 min−1, p<0.05) or ivabradine alone (312.0 ±30.2 min−1 vs. 350.2 ±16.0 min−1, p<0.05); (329.8 ±24.2 min−1 vs. 363.0 ±21.7 min−1, p<0.05).
Concomitant administration of simvastatin with ivabradine intensified slowing of HR, although it did not influence BP in normo-and hypercholesterolemic rats. Statin-induced intensification of HR deceleration after metoprolol administration was not observed.
PMCID: PMC3400921  PMID: 22852014
simvastatin; ivabradine; metoprolol; heart rate; rats

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