BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence that statins exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidative vascular actions that are independent of lipid lowering. We tested whether hyporeactivity to the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine (ACh) and the vasoconstrictor norepinephrine (NE) during acute experimental inflammation could be prevented by simvastatin.
METHODS AND RESULTS: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group study, forearm blood flow (FBF) responses to NE, ACh, and the endothelium-independent vasodilator nitroglycerin (NTG) were assessed at baseline, after 4 days of simvastatin 80 mg PO or placebo treatment, and during Escherichia coli endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS])-induced inflammation in 20 healthy volunteers. Additionally, markers of inflammation and neutrophil oxidative burst were assessed. Simvastatin and placebo had no effect on FBF or oxidative/inflammatory markers. LPS administration decreased the responses of FBF to NE by 43% (P
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates potent vasoprotective properties of high-dose simvastatin during endotoxemia that may be useful for patients with acute systemic inflammation and associated vascular hyporeactivity.
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