Atorvastatin regulates apoptosis in chronically ischemic myocardium

  • Sabe A
  • Elmadhun N
  • Sadek A
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND We previously demonstrated that atorvastatin upregulates proangiogenic proteins and increases arteriolar density in ischemic myocardium. Despite this, there was a lack of collateral-dependent perfusion, possibly related to apoptosis. We utilized a swine model of metabolic syndrome and chronic myocardial ischemia to investigate the effects of atorvastatin on apoptosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS Sixteen Ossabaw miniswine were fed a high-cholesterol diet for 14 weeks then underwent surgical placement of an ameroid constrictor to their circumflex artery inducing chronic ischemia. Eight pigs additionally received supplemental atorvastatin (1.5 mg/kg daily). Myocardium was harvested six months later for western blotting and TUNEL staining. RESULTS Animals supplemented with atorvastatin had significant increases in markers associated with apoptosis including p-38, BAX, and caspase 3 (p < 0.05). Atorvastatin supplementation also resulted in significant increases in expression of cell survival proteins Bcl-2 and P-ERK and an overall decrease in apoptosis demonstrated by TUNEL staining (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS Atorvastatin acts on multiple pathways and its effects on angiogenesis remain unclear. Although there is increased expression in several markers of apoptosis, key anti-apoptotic proteins were also upregulated with an overall decrease in apoptosis. Further investigation of these pathways may provide insight into the role of statins on myocardial protection after ischemia.

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  • Ashraf A. Sabe

  • Nassrene Y. Elmadhun

  • Ahmed A. Sadek

  • Rahul S. Dalal

  • Louis M. Chu

  • Cesario Bianchi

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