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Biochem J. 2001 Dec 1;360(Pt 2):363-70.

Diverse effects of inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase on the expression of VCAM-1 and E-selectin in endothelial cells.

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  • 1Laboratory for Molecular Pathology, Institute of Pathology, University Hospital of Aarhus, Kommunehospitalet, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


The expression of monocyte adhesion molecules, such as VCAM-1 (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) and E-selectin, on the surface of the endothelium is an important step in the initiation and progression of atherosclerotic lesions. We hypothesized that the inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase in endothelial cells could influence the expression of VCAM-1 and E-selectin. Using cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells, we found that mevastatin (0.1-1 microM) significantly reduced the expression of VCAM-1 protein in cells activated by tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) for 7 h. In contrast, TNF-alpha-induced E-selectin protein expression was augmented after mevastatin treatment. Mevastatin inhibited the mRNA expression of both VCAM-1 and E-selectin in TNF-alpha-stimulated endothelial cells. The activity of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B, which is known to regulate the transcription of VCAM-1 and E-selectin, was significantly reduced after incubation with mevastatin. Analysis of the time-dependent variation in the TNF-alpha-induced expression of E-selectin, and estimation of the rate of surface disappearance of E-selectin together with measurement of the amounts of E-selectin molecules secreted, indicated that mevastatin inhibited the surface removal of E-selectin. This is compatible with the observed increase in E-selectin expression after statin treatment. All observed effects of mevastatin were reversed by mevalonate, the product of the HMG-CoA reductase reaction. In conclusion, inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase in endothelial cells attenuates VCAM-1 expression, but increases E-selectin expression, after cytokine induction. These diverse effects are associated with changes in the transcriptional regulation of the two adhesion molecule genes and modulation of the surface removal of E-selectin.

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