The beneficial effects of simvastatin on experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been demonstrated in previous studies. In this study, we investigated the effects of simvastatin on axonal injury and neurite outgrowth after experimental TBI and explored the underlying mechanisms. Wistar rats were subjected to controlled cortical impact or sham surgery. Saline or simvastatin was administered for 14 days. A modified neurological severity score (mNSS) test was performed to evaluate functional recovery. Immunohistochemistry studies using synaptophysin, neurofilament H (NF-H) and amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) were performed to examine synaptogenesis and axonal injury. Primary cortical neurons (PCNs) were subjected to oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) followed by various treatments. Western blot analysis was utilized to assess the activation of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI-3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK- 3β)/adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) pathways. Simvastatin decreased the density of APP-positive profiles and increased the density of NF-H -positive profiles. Simvastatin reduced mNSS, which was correlated with the increase of axonal density. Simvastatin treatment stimulated the neurite outgrowth of PCNs after OGD, which was attenuated by LY294002 and enhanced by lithium chloride (LiCl). Simvastatin activated Akt and mTOR, inactivated GSK-3β and dephosphorylated APC in the injured PCNs. Our data suggest that simvastatin reduces axonal injury, enhances neurite outgrowth and promotes neurological functional recovery after experimental TBI. The beneficial effects of simvastatin on neurite outgrowth may be mediated through manipulation of the PI-3K/Akt/mTOR and PI-3K/GSK-3β/APC pathways.
axonal injury; glycogen synthase kinase 3β; neurite outgrowth; simvastatin; traumatic brain injury
Our previous studies found that simvastatin treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats had beneficial effects on spatial learning functions. In the current study we wanted to determine whether simvastatin suppressed neuronal cell apoptosis after TBI, and if so, the underlying mechanisms of this process.
Saline or simvastatin (1 mg/kg) was administered orally to rats starting at Day 1 after TBI and then daily for 14 days. Modified neurological severity scores (NSS) were employed to evaluate the sensory motor functional recovery. Rats were sacrificed at 1, 3, 7, 14 and 35 days after treatment and brain tissue was harvested for TUNEL staining, caspase-3 activity assay and Western blot analysis. Simvastatin significantly decreased NSS from Days 7 to 35 after TBI, significantly reduced the number of TUNEL-positive cells at Day 3, suppressed the caspase-3 activity at Days 1 and 3 after TBI, and increased phosphorylation of Akt as well as FOXO1, IκB and eNOS, which are the downstream targets of the pro-survival Akt signaling protein.
These data suggested that simvastatin reduces the apoptosis in neuronal cells and improves the sensory motor function recovery after TBI. These beneficial effects of simvastatin may be mediated through activation of Akt, FOXO1 and NF-κB signaling pathways, which suppress the activation of caspase-3 and apoptotic cell death, and thereby lead to neuronal function recovery after TBI.
simvastatin; apoptosis; Akt; FOXO1; IκB; traumatic brain injury
Our previous studies demonstrated that simvastatin treatment promotes neuronal survival and reduces inflammatory cytokine release from astrocytes after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats. Since reactive astrocytes produce inflammation mediators, in the current study we investigated the effect of simvastatin on astrocyte activation after TBI and its underlying signaling mechanisms.
Saline or simvastatin (1 mg/kg) was orally administered to rats starting at Day 1 after TBI and then daily for 14 days. Rats were sacrificed at 1, 3, 7, 14 days after treatment. Brain sections and tissues were prepared for immunohistochemical staining and Western blot analysis, respectively. Cultured astrocytes were subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and followed by immunocytochemical staining with GFAP/caveolin-1 and Western blot analysis. Lipid rafts were isolated from the cell lysate and Western blot was carried out to detect the changes in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression and phosphorylation in the lipid rafts.
Simvastatin significantly promoted neuronal survival after TBI and attenuated activation of astrocytes. Simvastatin modified the caveolin-1 expression in lipid rafts in astrocyte cell membrane, suppressed the phosphorylation of EGFR in lipid rafts of astrocytes after OGD, and inhibited the OGD-induced interleukin-1 (IL-1) production.
These data suggest that simvastatin reduces reactive astrogliosis and rescues neuronal cells after TBI. These beneficial effects of simvastatin may be mediated by inhibiting astrocyte activation after TBI through modifying the caveolin-1 expression in lipid rafts and the subsequent modulation of EGFR phosphorylation in lipid rafts.
simvastatin; EGFR; lipid rafts; astrocyte; traumatic brain injury
In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the Angiopoietin 1 (Ang1)/Tie2 pathway mediates simvastatin-induced vascular integrity and migration of neuroblasts after stroke. Rats were subjected to 2 hrs of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and treated, starting 1 day after stroke with or without simvastatin (1 mg/kg, daily) for 7 days. Simvastatin treatment significantly decreased blood–brain barrier (BBB) leakage and concomitantly, increased Ang1, Tie2 and Occludin expression in the ischaemic border (IBZ) compared to the MCAo control group. Simvastatin also significantly increased doublecortin (DCX, a marker of migrating neuroblasts) expression in the IBZ compared to control MCAo rats. DCX was highly expressed around vessels. To further investigate the signalling pathway of simvastatin-induced vascular stabilization and angiogenesis, rat brain microvascular endothelial cell (RBMEC) culture was employed. The data show that simvastatin treatment of RBMEC increased Ang1 and Tie2 gene and protein expression and promoted phosphorylated-Tie2 activity. Simvastatin significantly increased endothelial capillary tube formation, an index of angiogenesis, compared to non-treated control. Inhibition of Ang1 or knockdown of Tie2 gene expression in endothelial cells significantly attenuated simvastatin-induced capillary tube formation. In addition, simvastatin significantly increased subventricular zone (SVZ) explant cell migration compared to non-treatment control. Inhibition of Ang1 significantly attenuated simvastatin-induced SVZ cell migration. Simvastatin treatment of stroke increases Ang1/Tie2 expression and thereby reduces BBB leakage and promotes vascular stabilization. Ang1/Tie2 expression induced by simvastatin treatment promotes neuroblast microvascular coupling after stroke.
stroke; angiopoietin 1; Tie2; simvastatin; vascular stabilization
Previous studies have demonstrates that statins improve neurological outcome and promote neurovascular recovery after ICH. This study is designed to examine whether simvastatin and atorvastatin affect levels of growth factors and activate the Akt signaling pathway during the recovery phase after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in rats. Sixty (60) male Wistar rats were subjected to ICH by stereotactic injection of 100 μL of autologous blood into the striatum and were treated with or without simvastatin or atorvastatin. Neurological functional outcome was evaluated by behavioral tests (mNSS and corner turn test) at different time points after ICH. Brain extracts were utilized for Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analyses to measure vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF) expression, and nerve growth factor (NGF). Western blot was used to measure the changes in the Akt-mediated signaling pathway. Both the simvastatin- and atorvastatin-treated animals had significant neurological improvement at 2 weeks post-ICH. Simvastatin and atorvastatin treatment increased the expression of BDNF, VEGF and NGF in both low- and high-dose groups at 7 days after ICH (p < 0.05). Phosphorylation of Akt, glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), and cAMP response element-binding proteins (CREB) were also increased at 7 days after statin treatment.
These results suggest that the therapeutic effects of statins after experimental ICH may be mediated by the transient induction of BDNF, VEGF and NGF expression and the activation of the Akt-mediated signaling pathway.
Statin; growth factor; experimental; intracerebral hemorrhage
Our previous studies demonstrated that simvastatin promotes neurological functional recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rat; however, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of simvastatin by measuring the level of cytokines and activation of glial cells.
Controlled cortical impact injury was performed in adult male Wistar rats. The rats were randomly divided into three groups: sham, saline control group and simvastatin treatment group. Simvastatin was administered orally starting at day 1 after TBI until sacrifice. Animals were sacrificed at 1, 3, 7, 14, and 35 days after treatment. Functional outcome was measured using modified neurological severity scores (mNSS). ELISA and immunohistochemical staining were employed to measure the expression of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α, and to identify activated microglia and astrocytes.
At days 1 and 3 after simvastatin or saline treatment, cytokine levels in the lesion boundary zone were significantly higher in the simvastatin-treated rats and saline-treated rats compared to the sham group, peaking at day 3. Simvastatin only reduced the level of IL-1 β but not IL-6 and TNF-α compared with the saline group. Also, simvastatin reduced significantly the number of activated microglia and astrocytes compared to the saline control animals. There was also a trend towards improvement of mNSS score, reaching statistical significance (P=0.003) towards the end of the trial.
Our data demonstrate that TBI causes inflammatory reaction, including increased levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α, as well as activated microglia. Simvastatin selectively reduces IL-1β expression and inhibits the activation of microglia and astrocytes after TBI, which may be one of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic benefits of simvastatin treatment of TBI.
Astrocyte; Interleukin 1 beta; Microglia; Simvastatin; Traumatic brain injury
Background and Purpose
Notch signaling activity regulates arteriogenesis. Presenilin 1 (PS1) mediates Notch signaling activity via cleavage of Notch, liberating Notch intracellular domain (NICD). We tested the hypothesis that simvastatin enhances arteriogenesis after stroke by increasing PS1 activation of the Notch signaling pathway.
Rats were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and treated with or without simvastatin (1 mg/kg) starting 24 hours after stroke and daily for 7 days; they were euthanized 14 days after stroke. Immunostaining, Western blot, and real-time polymerase chain reaction assays were performed.
Simvastatin significantly increased arterial diameter, density, and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and upregulated PS1, Notch1, and NICD expression in the ischemic border tissue and in the cerebral arteries compared with MCAo control rats, respectively. However, simvastatin did not increase arteriogenesis, PS1, and NICD expression in sham control animals. To investigate the mechanisms of simvastatin-induced arteriogenesis, primary cerebral artery cultures were used. Rats were subjected to MCAo and treated with or without simvastatin daily for 7 days. The cerebral arteries derived from these stroke rats were cultured in matrigel and treated with or without a γ40-secretase inhibitor II, which blocks Notch signaling activity, inhibiting NICD production. Arterial cell migration was measured. simvastatin treatment significantly increased arterial cell migration compared to control MCAo artery, whereas inhibition of Notch signaling activity by the γ40-secretase inhibitor II significantly attenuated simvastatin-induced arterial cell migration.
These data indicate that simvastatin increases arteriogenesis after stroke, and that simvastatin upregulation of PS1 expression and Notch signaling activity may facilitate an increase in arteriogenesis.
arteriogenesis; Notch signaling; presenilin 1; simvastatin; stroke
We previously reported that simvastatin and enamel matrix derivative (EMD) have a dentinogenic effect. However, there is little information about the combined effects of these 2 agents on odontoblastic differentiation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of combined treatment with simvastatin and EMD on odontoblastic differentiation of human dental pulp cells (hDPCs). This study further explored the role of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) as a target and mediator of the differentiation induced by simvastatin in hDPCs.
The odontoblastic differentiation was analyzed by alkaline phosphatase activity, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for odontoblastic/osteoblastic markers (ie, dentin sialophosphoprotein, dentin matrix protein 1, and osteonectin), and alizarin red S staining. We also explored the role of ERK signaling as a mediator of simvastatin by Western blotting and real-time PCR. The expression of osteoblast-specific transcription factors was detected by reverse-transcription PCR.
The alkaline phosphatase activity and the expression of odontoblastic markers (ie, dentin sialophosphoprotein and dentin matrix protein 1) increased in simvastatin/EMD-treated cells. Mineralized nodule formation increased in EMD- and simvastatin/EMD-treated cells. Notably, the combined use of both simvastatin and EMD resulted in more potent differentiation than that observed after a single therapy. Simvastatin activated ERK phosphorylation and treatment with ERK inhibitor blocked the messenger RNA expression of odontoblastic markers. However, in simvastatin/EMD-treated cells, the expression of these genes did not decrease significantly. Compared with other groups, the EMD- and simvastatin/EMD-treated group showed a greater expression of osterix.
Simvastatin promotes odontoblastic differentiation of hDPCs via the ERK signaling pathway. In addition, simvastatin-induced differentiation is facilitated by co-treatment with EMD. Collectively, these results suggest a new strategy to induce odontoblastic differentiation of hDPCs.
Combination; enamel matrix derivative; extracellular signal–regulated kinase; simvastatin; odontoblastic
Studies have shown that some of statin's pleiotropic effects were achieved by either promotion or inhibition of angiogenesis, depending on the underlying disease. This study tested the hypothesis that the angiogenic potential of simvastatin is related to the microenvironmental conditions.
Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were studied after exposure to hypoxia or the inflammatory factors tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, with or without co-incubation with simvastatin (1μmol/L) and mevalonate. HUVEC angiogenesis was evaluated by tube formation, migration, and proliferation assays. Hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), Akt, endothelium nitric oxide synthase (e-NOS), and oxidative stress were evaluated.
HUVEC angiogenesis increased during hypoxia (tube length 14.7±0.5 vs. 7.8±0.6 mm, p<0.05) and further enhanced by simvastatin (19.3±1.1 mm, p<0.05 vs. hypoxia alone), which downregulated the expression of the HIF-1 inhibitor PHD2 and upregulated HIF-1α, VEGF, and Akt, without changing oxidative stress or eNOS. Incubation with TNF-α promoted HUVEC angiogenesis (7.4±0.2 vs. 6.5±0.2 mm, p<0.05) with increased oxidative stress. However, simvastatin inhibited this promotion (2.5±0.3 mm, p<0.001 vs. TNF-α alone) by decreasing oxidative stress, VEGF, Akt, and eNOS.
We conclude that at the same dosage, simvastatin can either promote or inhibit angiogenesis, possibly by activating upstream regulators of HIF-1α in hypoxia, but conversely interfering with angiogenic signaling downstream to inflammation. These opposing angiogenic effects should be considered in the therapeutic strategies with statins.
Simvastatin; hypoxia; angiogenesis; inflammation
Statins can have beneficial cholesterol-independent effects on vascular contractility, which may involve increases in the bioavailability of NO (nitric oxide) as a result of phosphorylation of eNOS (endothelial NO synthase). Although this has been attributed to phosphorylation of Akt (also known as protein kinase B), studies in cultured cells have shown that statins can phosphorylate AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase); it is unknown whether this has functional effects in intact arteries. Thus we investigated the acute effects of simvastatin on resistance arterial contractile function, evaluating the involvement of NO, Akt and AMPK. Isolated rat mesenteric resistance arteries were mounted on a wire myograph. The effects of incubation (1 and 2 h) with simvastatin (0.1 or 1 μM) on contractile responses were examined in the presence and absence of L-NNA (N-nitro-L-arginine; 10 μM) or mevalonate (1 mM). Effects on eNOS, phospho-eNOS (Ser1177), and total and phospho-Akt and -AMPK protein expression were investigated using Western blotting. The effect of AMPK inhibition (compound C, 10 μM) on eNOS phosphorylation and contractile responses were also studied. Simvastatin (1 μM, 2 h) significantly reduced constriction to U46619 and phenylephrine and enhanced dilations to ACh (acetylcholine) in depolarized, but not in U46619-pre-constricted arteries. These effects were completely and partially prevented by L-NNA and mevalonate respectively. Simvastatin increased eNOS and AMPKα phosphorylation, but had no effect on Akt protein expression and phosphorylation after 2 h incubation. Compound C prevented the effects of simvastatin on eNOS phosphorylation and contractility. Thus simvastain can acutely modulate resistance arterial contractile function via mechanisms that involve the AMPK/phospho-eNOS (Ser1177)/NO-dependent pathway.
acetylcholine; AMP-activated protein kinase; nitric oxide; resistance artery; simvastatin; statin; ACh, acetylcholine; AICAR, 5-amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide riboside; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; eNOS, endothelial NO synthase; HMG-CoA, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA; L-NNA, N-nitro-L-arginine; PSS, physiological salt solution; KPSS, potassium PSS; SNP, sodium nitroprusside
Inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, known as statins, are commonly used as cholesterol-lowering drugs. During the past decade, evidence has emerged that statins also have neuroprotective effects. Research in the retina has shown that simvastatin, a commonly used statin, increases Akt phosphorylation in vivo, indicating that the PI3K/Akt pathway contributes to the protective effects achieved. While research about neuroprotective effects have been conducted in several systems, the effects of statins on the inner ear are largely unknown.
We evaluated whether the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase is present within the rat cochlea and whether simvastatin is able to protect auditory hair cells from gentamicin-induced apoptotic cell death in a in vitro mouse model. Furthermore, we evaluated whether simvastatin increases Akt phosphorylation in the organ of Corti. We detected 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase mRNA in organ of Corti, spiral ganglion, and stria vascularis by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Moreover, we observed a dose-dependent and significant reduction of hair cell loss in organs of Corti treated with simvastatin in addition to gentamicin, as compared to samples treated with gentamicin alone. The protective effect of simvastatin was reversed by addition of mevalonate, a downstream metabolite blocked by simvastatin, demonstrating the specificity of protection. Finally, Western blotting showed an increase in organ of Corti Akt phosphorylation after simvastatin treatment in vitro.
These results suggest a neuroprotective effect of statins in the inner ear, mediated by reduced 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase metabolism and Akt activation.
Simvastatin exerts pleiotropic effects on cardiovascular system. However, its effect on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, especially the liver fibrosis, remains obscure. We aimed to clarify the relationship between simvastatin and liver fibrosis both in vivo and in vitro.
A High-fat diet was given to establish rat models with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-related liver fibrosis and simvastatin (4mg·kg-1·d-1) was administrated intragastrically until hepatic histological findings confirmed the appearance of fibrosis. Human hepatic stellate cell (HSC) line lx-2 cells were cultured in an adipogenic differentiating mixture (ADM) and then were treated with transforming growth factorβ1 (TGF-β1), served as a positive control, simvastatin, TGF-β1 plus simvastatin, Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (L-NAME, a inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase), and L-NAME plus simvastatin, respectively. The expressions of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and Collagen І as well as cellular α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) were measured by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot in liver tissue and HSC.
With the progress of NASH-related fibrosis, hepatic mRNA and protein expressions of iNOS, α-SMA, and Collagen І were increased while those of eNOS were decreased. Compared with model rats in 24th week group, rats in simvastatin group had less expressions of iNOS, α-SMA, and Collagen І and more expressions of eNOS. In vitro, LX-2 cells acquired quiescent phenotype when cultured in ADM, and TGF-β1 could activate the quiescent HSC. Simvastatin inhibited LX-2 cells activation due to TGF-β1 or L-NAME by increasing the expression of eNOS and decreasing the expression of iNOS.
Simvastatin improves the prognosis of NASH-related fibrosis by increasing the expression of eNOS, decreasing the expression of iNOS, and inhibiting the activation of HSC.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a major public health problem globally. Presently, there is no way to restore cognitive deficits caused by TBI. In this study, we seek to evaluate the effect of statins (simvastatin and atorvastatin) on the spatial learning and neurogenesis in rats subjected to controlled cortical impact. Rats were treated with atorvastatin and simvastatin 1 day after TBI and daily for 14 days. Morris water maze tests were performed during weeks 2 and 5 after TBI. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU; 50 mg/kg) was intraperitoneally injected 1 day after TBI and daily for 14 days. Brain tissue was processed for immunohistochemical staining to identify newly generated cells and vessels. Our data show that (1) treatment of TBI with statins improves spatial learning on days 31–35 after onset of TBI; (2) in the non-neurogenic region of the hippocampal CA3 region, statin treatment reduces the neuronal loss after TBI, demonstrating the neuroprotective effect of statins; (3) in the neurogenic region of the dentate gyrus, treatment of TBI with statins enhances neurogenesis; (4) statin treatment augments TBI-induced angiogenesis; and (5) treatment with simvastatin at the same dose provides a therapeutic effect superior to treatment with atorvastatin. These results suggest that statins may be candidates for treatment of TBI.
neurogenesis; rat; spatial learning; statins
Human umbilical cord blood cells (HUCBCs) have been employed as a restorative treatment for experimental stroke. In this study, we investigated whether transplantation of sub-therapeutic doses of HUCBCs and Simvastatin enhances cerebral vascular remodeling after stroke. Adult male Wistar rats (n=34) were subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and treated with: phosphate buffered solution (PBS, gavaged daily for 7 days); Simvastatin (0.5mg/kg, gavaged daily for 7 days); HUCBCs (1x106, injected once via tail vein); and combination Simvasatin with HUCBCs, starting at 24 h after MCAo. There was no significant difference between Simvastatin- or HUCBC-monotherapy and MCAo-alone group. Combination treatment 24 h post-stroke significantly increased the perimeter of von Willebrand factor (vWF)-positive vessels, the diameter and density of alpha smooth muscle actin ( SMA)-positive arteries, and the percentage of BrdU-positive endothelial cells (ECs) in the ischemic boundary zone (IBZ) compared with MCAo-alone or HUCBC-monotherapy 14 days after MCAo (p<0.05, n=8/group); Combination treatment significantly increased the densities of vWF-vessels and SMA-arteries as well as the densities of BrdU-ECs and BrdU-positive smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in vascular walls in the IBZ compared with Simvastatin-monotherapy. Moreover, the increased BrdU-ECs and BrdU-SMCs were significantly correlated with neurological functional outcome 14 days after MCAo. Combination treatment also significantly increased the expression of Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1), Tie2 and Occludin in the IBZ (p<0.05, n=8/group). The in vitro experiments showed that combination treatment and Ang1 significantly increased capillary-like tube formation and arterial cell migration; anti-Ang1 significantly reduced combination treatment induced tube-formation and artery cell migration (p<0.05, n=6/group). These findings indicated that combination of sub-therapeutic doses of Simvastatin and HUCBCs treatment of stroke increases Ang1/Tie2 and Occludin expression in the ischemic brain, amplifies endogenous angiogenesis and arteriogenesis, and enhances vascular remodeling which in concert may contribute to functional outcome after stroke.
Simvastatin; human umbilical cord blood cells (HUCBCs); vascular remodeling; stroke; Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1)
Erythropoietin (EPO) improves functional recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Here, we investigated the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) on EPO-induced therapeutic efficacy in rats after TBI. Young male Wistar rats were subjected to unilateral controlled cortical impact injury and then infused intracerebroventricularly with either a potent selective VEGFR2 inhibitor SU5416 or vehicle dimethyl sulfoxide. Animals from both groups received delayed EPO treatment (5,000 U/kg in saline) administered intraperitoneally daily at 1, 2, and 3 days post injury. TBI rats treated with saline administered intraperitoneally daily at 1, 2, and 3 days post injury served as EPO treatment controls. 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine was administered to label dividing cells. Spatial learning and sensorimotor function were assessed using a modified Morris water maze test and modified neurological severity score, respectively. Animals were sacrificed at 4 days post injury for measurement of VEGF and VEGFR2 or 35 days post injury for evaluation of cell proliferation, angiogenesis and neurogenesis. EPO treatment promoted sensorimotor and cognitive functional recovery after TBI. EPO treatment increased brain VEGF expression and phosphorylation of VEGFR2. EPO significantly increased cell proliferation, angiogenesis and neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus after TBI. Compared to the vehicle, SU5416 infusion significantly inhibited phosphorylation of VEGFR2, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and neurogenesis as well as abolished functional recovery in EPO-treated TBI rats. These findings indicate the VEGF/VEGFR2 activation plays an important role in EPO-mediated neurobehavioral recovery and neurovascular remodeling after TBI.
angiogenesis; erythropoietin; neurogenesis; traumatic brain injury; vascular endothelial growth factor
Current guidelines encourage the use of statins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients; however the impact of these drugs on diabetic retinopathy is not well defined. Moreover, pleiotropic effects of statins on the highly specialised retinal microvascular endothelium remain largely unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of clinically relevant concentrations of simvastatin on retinal endothelium in vitro and in vivo.
Methods and Findings
Retinal microvascular endothelial cells (RMECs) were treated with 0.01–10 µM simvastatin and a biphasic dose-related response was observed. Low concentrations enhanced microvascular repair with 0.1 µM simvastatin significantly increasing proliferation (p<0.05), and 0.01 µM simvastatin significantly promoting migration (p<0.05), sprouting (p<0.001), and tubulogenesis (p<0.001). High concentration of simvastatin (10 µM) had the opposite effect, significantly inhibiting proliferation (p<0.01), migration (p<0.01), sprouting (p<0.001), and tubulogenesis (p<0.05). Furthermore, simvastatin concentrations higher than 1 µM induced cell death. The mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy was used to investigate the possible effects of simvastatin treatment on ischaemic retinopathy. Low dose simvastatin(0.2 mg/Kg) promoted retinal microvascular repair in response to ischaemia by promoting intra-retinal re-vascularisation (p<0.01). By contrast, high dose simvastatin(20 mg/Kg) significantly prevented re-vascularisation (p<0.01) and concomitantly increased pathological neovascularisation (p<0.01). We also demonstrated that the pro-vascular repair mechanism of simvastatin involves VEGF stimulation, Akt phosphorylation, and nitric oxide production; and the anti-vascular repair mechanism is driven by marked intracellular cholesterol depletion and related disorganisation of key intracellular structures.
A beneficial effect of low-dose simvastatin on ischaemic retinopathy is linked to angiogenic repair reducing ischaemia, thereby preventing pathological neovascularisation. High-dose simvastatin may be harmful by inhibiting reparative processes and inducing premature death of retinal microvascular endothelium which increases ischaemia-induced neovascular pathology. Statin dosage should be judiciously monitored in patients who are diabetic or are at risk of developing other forms of proliferative retinopathy.
Advanced prostate cancer is difficult to treat due to androgen resistance, its deep location and blood tumor barriers. Low-frequency ultrasound (LFU) has potential clinical applications in the treatment of prostate cancer due to its strong penetrability and high sensitivity towards tumor cells. Simvastatin has often been administered as a preventive agent in prostate tumors. The aim of the present study was to investigate the enhanced effects of LFU and microbubbles in combination with simvastatin, in inhibiting cell viability and promoting apoptosis of androgen-independent prostatic DU145 cells. Cultured DU145 cells were divided into six groups based on the combination of treatments as follows: Control, LFU, LFU and microbubbles (LFUM), simvastatin, LFU and simvastatin, LFUM and simvastatin. The cells were treated by LFU (80 kHz) continuously for 30 sec with an ultrasound intensity of 0.45 W/cm2 and a microbubble density of 20%. Simvastatin was added 30 h prior to the ultrasound exposure. The results indicated that cell viability was marginally reduced in the LFU and simvastatin alone treatment groups compared with the control 24 h following ultrasound exposure. The combination of LFU, with microbubbles or simvastatin, potentiated the growth inhibition; the greatest inhibition was observed in the cells that were subject to treatment with LFUM and simvastatin in combination. Furthermore, this inhibitory effect was enhanced in a time-dependent manner. For cell apoptosis, a low dose of simvastatin had no apparent affect on the DU145 cells, while LFU marginally promoted cell apoptosis. Microbubbles or simvastatin increased the apoptosis rate of the DU145 cells, however, the combination of LFUM and simvastatin induced a strong synergistic effect on cell apoptosis. Western blotting analysis demonstrated a high expression level of caveolin-1 in resting DU145 cells. LFUM or combined LFU and simvastatin resulted in a greater reduction in the expression compared with the control group (P<0.05). The expression of caveolin-1 was lowest in the LFUM combined with simvastatin treatment group. The expression of phospho-Akt (p-Akt) was consistent with caveolin-1, with the lowest expression levels of p-Akt observed in the cells that were treated with the combination of LFUM and simvastatin. The results indicate that LFUM in combination with simvastatin may additively or synergistically inhibit cell viability and induce apoptosis of DU145 cells by downregulating caveolin-1 and p-Akt protein expression.
low frequency ultrasound and microbubbles; simvastatin; apoptosis; caveolin-1; prostate cancer
In this study, we seek to investigate the effects of simvastatin on proliferation, migration and apoptosis in human U251 and U87 glioma cells and the underlying molecular mechanism.
We used colony formation assay to test the cell proliferation, in vitro scratch assay to examine the cell migration, and caspase-3 activity assay, annexin V staining and cytochrome C release to evaluate the cell apoptosis. Lipid raft fractions were isolated from glioma cells. Total cholesterol content assay was used to test the change of cholesterol level in lipid raft fractions. Immunocytochemistry staining was performed to detect the changes of lipid rafts in cell membrane. Western blotting analysis was performed to examine the signal transduction both in cells and in lipid raft fractions.
Simvastatin inhibited proliferation and migration of U251 and U87 cells dose-dependently. Simvastatin induced an increase of caspase-3 activity, annexin V staining, and downregulated the PI3K/Akt pathway. Simvastatin also decreased cholesterol content in lipid raft fractions, suppressed caveolin-1 expression in the lipid rafts and induced Fas translocation into lipid rafts, suggesting that simvastatin may inhibit pro-survival PI3K/Akt pathway and trigger caspase-3-dependent apoptotic cell death through the modulation of lipid rafts.
These results suggest that modulation of lipid rafts, Fas translocation and PI3K/Akt/caspase-3 pathway are involved in the antitumor effect of simvastatin and it may have a potential role in cancer prevention and treatment.
apoptosis; glioma; lipid rafts; PI3K/Akt pathway; simvastatin
We postulated that combining high-dose simvastatin with bone marrow derived-mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) delivery may give better prognosis in a mouse hindlimb ischemia model.
Mouse hindlimb ischemia model was established by ligating the right femoral artery. Animals were grouped (n = 10) to receive local injection of saline without cells (control and simvastatin groups) or with 5 × 106 MSCs (MSCs group).Animals received either simvastatin (20 mg/kg/d, simvastatin and combination groups) or saline(control and MSCs group) gavages for continual 21 days. The blood flow was assessed by laser Doppler imaging at day 0,10 and 21 after surgery, respectively. Ischemic muscle was harvested for immunohistological assessments and for VEGF protein detection using western blot assay at 21 days post-surgery. In vitro, MSCs viability was measured by MTT and flow cytometry following culture in serum-free medium for 24 h with or without simvastatin. Release of VEGF by MSCs incubated with different doses of simvastatin was assayed using ELISA.
Combined treatment with simvastatin and MSCs induced a significant improvement in blood reperfusion, a notable increase in capillary density, a highest level of VEGF protein and a significant decrease in muscle cell apoptosis compared with other groups. In vitro, simvastatin inhibited MSCs apoptosis and increased VEGF release by MSCs.
Combination therapy with high-dose simvastatin and bone marrow-derived MSCs would augment functional neovascularization in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia.
This study was designed to investigate the long-term effects of simvastatin treatment after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats.
Adult female Wistar rats (n=24) were injured with controlled cortical impact and divided into three groups. The first two groups were treated with simvastatin 0.5 mg/kg or 1 mg/kg administered orally for 14 days starting one day after TBI. The third group (control) received phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) orally for 14 days. Neurological functional outcome was measured with modified neurological severity scores (mNSS) performed 1 day before TBI and after TBI on Days 1, 4, 7, 14 and biweekly thereafter. All animals were sacrificed 3 months after TBI. Brain tissues of half of the animals were processed for preparation of paraffin-embedded sections for immunohistological studies. The remaining half was frozen for ELISA studies for quantification of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in hippocampus and cortex.
Results showed that both doses of simvastatin significantly improved functional outcome compared to control with no difference between the two doses. Simvastatin treatment of 1 mg/kg increased the number of morphologically intact neurons in hippocampus with 0.5 mg/kg having no significant effect. ELISA studies showed that 0.5 mg/kg of simvastatin significantly increased BDNF levels within hippocampus with 1 mg/kg having no significant effect; neither dose had any effect on BDNF levels within the cortex.
Simvastatin treatment provides long-lasting functional improvement after TBI in rats. It also enhances neuronal survival in the hippocampus and increases BDNF levels in the hippocampus secondary to simvastatin treatment.
Simvastatin; Traumatic brain injury; Long term; Newly generated cells
Lung cancer is characterized by a high mortality rate probably attributable to early metastasis. Oxidative stress is involved in development and progression of lung cancer, through cellular and molecular mechanisms which at least in part overlap with proinflammatory pathways. Simvastatin is a statin with pleiotropic effects that can also act as an anti-oxidant agent, and these pharmacologic properties may contribute to its potential anti-cancer activity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate, in the human lung adenocarcinoma cell line GLC-82, the effects of a 24-hour treatment with simvastatin on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced changes in cell viability, ERK phosphorylation, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression, innate immunity signaling, NF-κB activation and IL-8 secretion. Cell counting was performed after trypan blue staining, cell proliferation was assessed using MTT assay, and apoptosis was evaluated through caspase-3 activation and Tunel assay. Western blotting was used to analyze protein extracts, and IL-8 release into cell culture supernatants was assessed by ELISA. Our results show that simvastatin (30 μM) significantly (P <0.01) inhibited the proliferative effect of H2O2 (0.5 mM) and its stimulatory actions on ERK1/2 phosphorylation, NF-κB activation and IL-8 production. Furthermore, simvastatin decreased H2O2-mediated induction of the cellular expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, as well as of several components of the signaling complex activated by innate immune responses, including MyD88, TRAF2, TRAF6 and TRADD. In conclusion, these findings suggest that simvastatin could play a role in prevention and treatment of lung cancer via modulation of important proinflammatory and tumorigenic events promoted by oxidative stress.
Lung cancer; NF-κB; Matrix metalloproteinases; Innate immunity; IL-8; Simvastatin
Mortality from severe acute respiratory distress syndrome exceeds 40% and there is no available pharmacologic treatment. Mechanical ventilation contributes to lung dysfunction and mortality by causing ventilator-induced lung injury. We explored the utility of simvastatin in a mouse model of severe ventilator-induced lung injury.
Male C57BL6 mice (n = 7/group) were pretreated with simvastatin or saline and received protective (8 mL/kg) or injurious (25 mL/kg) ventilation for four hours. Three doses of simvastatin (20 mg/kg) or saline were injected intraperitoneally on days −2, −1 and 0 of the experiment. Lung mechanics, (respiratory system elastance, tissue damping and airway resistance), were evaluated by forced oscillation technique, while respiratory system compliance was measured with quasi-static pressure-volume curves. A pathologist blinded to treatment allocation scored hematoxylin-eosin-stained lung sections for the presence of lung injury. Pulmonary endothelial dysfunction was ascertained by bronchoalveolar lavage protein content and lung tissue expression of endothelial junctional protein Vascular Endothelial cadherin by immunoblotting. To assess the inflammatory response in the lung, we determined bronchoalveolar lavage fluid total cell content and neutrophil fraction by microscopy and staining in addition to Matrix-Metalloprotease-9 by ELISA. For the systemic response, we obtained plasma levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α, Interleukin-6 and Matrix-Metalloprotease-9 by ELISA. Statistical hypothesis testing was undertaken using one-way analysis of variance and Tukey’s post hoc tests.
Ventilation with high tidal volume (HVt) resulted in significantly increased lung elastance by 3-fold and decreased lung compliance by 45% compared to low tidal volume (LVt) but simvastatin abrogated lung mechanical alterations of HVt. Histologic lung injury score increased four-fold by HVt but not in simvastatin-pretreated mice. Lavage pleocytosis and neutrophilia were induced by HVt but were significantly attenuated by simvastatin. Microvascular protein permeability increase 20-fold by injurious ventilation but only 4-fold with simvastatin. There was a 3-fold increase in plasma Tumor Necrosis Factor-α, a 7-fold increase in plasma Interleukin-6 and a 20-fold increase in lavage fluid Matrix-Metalloprotease-9 by HVt but simvastatin reduced these levels to control. Lung tissue vascular endothelial cadherin expression was significantly reduced by injurious ventilation but remained preserved by simvastatin.
High-dose simvastatin prevents experimental hyperinflation lung injury by angioprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.
Ventilator lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Acute lung injury; Pulmonary edema; Statin; Lung function; Lung compliance; Endothelial permeability
Statins have recently been highlighted for their pleiotropic actions distinct from cholesterol-lowering effects. Despite this interest, it is currently unknown whether statin therapy inhibits peritoneal dialysis (PD)-related epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT).
In vitro, human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs) were exposed to 5.6 mM glucose (NG) or 100 mM glucose (HG) with or without simvastatin (1 µM). In vivo, PD catheters were inserted into 32 Sprague-Dawley rats, and saline (C, n = 16) or 4.25% peritoneal dialysis fluid (PDF) (PD, n = 16) was infused for 4 weeks. Eight rats from each group were treated with 5 mg/kg/day of simvastatin intraperitoneally. Changes in the protein expression of EMT markers such as E-cadherin, α-SMA, Snail, and fibronectin in HPMCs and the peritoneum were evaluated by Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence or immunohistochemical staining. We also explored whether activation of the mevalonate pathway and its downstream small GTPases were involved in dialysis-related peritoneal EMT and could be inhibited by statin treatment.
Compared to NG cells, E-cadherin expression was significantly decreased, while α-SMA, Snail, and fibronectin expression were significantly increased in HPMCs exposed to HG, and these changes were abrogated by simvastatin (p<0.05). In addition, the cobblestone-like appearance of normal HPMCs was converted into a fibroblast-like morphology after HG treatment, which was reversed by simvastatin. These EMT-like changes were also observed in HPMCs treated with geranyl-geranyl pyrophosphate (5 µM). HG significantly increased the protein expression of RhoA and Rac1 in the membrane fractions, and these increases were ameliorated by simvastatin (p<0.05). In PD rats, E-cadherin in the peritoneum was significantly decreased, whereas α-SMA, Snail, and fibronectin expression were significantly increased (p<0.05) compared to C rats. The thickness of the mesothelial layer in the peritoneum were also significantly greater in PD rats than in C rats (p<0.05). These changes of the peritoneum in PD rats were significantly attenuated by simvastatin.
This study demonstrated that PD-related EMT was mediated via the mevalonate pathway, and statin treatment inhibited the EMT changes in HG-treated HPMCs and PDF-stimulated PD rats. These findings suggest that statins may be a promising therapeutic strategy for preservation of peritoneal membrane integrity in long-term PD patients.
The mechanisms involved in simvastatin-mediated attenuation of cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) are unclear. We investigated the role of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt (PI3K/Akt) pathway and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in the cerebral vasculature in statin-mediated attenuation of cerebral vasospasm using wortmannin, an irreversible pharmacological PI3K inhibitor, and a rat SAH endovascular perforation model. Simvastatin was administered intraperitoneally in two dosages (1 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg) at 0.5, 24, and 48 hr after SAH and histological parameters of ipsilateral intracranial carotid artery (ICA) were assessed at 24 and 72 hr. SAH significantly decreased ICA diameter and perimeter while increasing wall thickness at both 24 and 72 hr. High-dosage simvastatin prevented the reduction of ICA diameter and perimeter following SAH, whereas both high and low dosages reduced wall thickness significantly at 24 and 72 hr. The effects of simvastatin were significantly reversed by wortmannin. High-dosage simvastatin increased pAkt and peNOS (phosphorylated forms) levels without increasing Akt and eNOS expression compared with the SAH group and also improved neurological deficits at 24 and 72 hr. Simvastatin did not affect protein levels by itself compared with untreated sham group. The present study elucidates the critical role of the PI3K activation leading to phosphorylation of Akt and eNOS in simvastatin-mediated attenuation of cerebral vasospasm after SAH.
cerebral vasospasm; experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage; statin; PI3K/Akt; eNOS
The goal of this study was to measure the impact of simvastatin and atorvastatin treatment on blood brain barrier (BBB) integrity after experimental intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).
Primary ICH was induced in 27 male Wistar rats by stereotactic injection of 100 µL of autologous blood into the striatum. Rats were divided into three groups (n= 9/group): 1) oral treatment (2 mg/kg) of atorvastatin, 2) oral treatment (2 mg/kg) simvastatin, or 3) phosphate buffered saline daily starting 24-hours post-ICH and continuing daily for the next 3 days. On the fourth day, the animals underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for measurements of T1sat (a marker for BBB integrity), T2 (edema), and cerebral blood flow (CBF). After MRI, the animals were sacrificed and immunohistology or Western blotting was performed.
MRI data for animals receiving simvastatin treatment showed significantly reduced BBB dysfunction and improved CBF in the ICH rim compared to controls (P<0.05) 4 days after ICH. Simvastatin also significantly reduced edema (T2) in the rim at 4 days after ICH (P<0.05). Both statin-treated groups demonstrated increased occludin and endothelial barrier antigen levels within the vessel walls, indicating better preservation of BBB function (P<0.05) and increased number of blood vessels (P<0.05).
Simvastatin treatment administered acutely after ICH protects BBB integrity as measured by MRI and correlative immunohistochemistry. There was also evidence of improved CBF and reduced edema by MRI. Conversely, atorvastatin showed a non-significant trend by MRI measurement.
Intracerebral hemorrhage; Atorvastatin; Occludin; Simvastatin; Blood brain barrier