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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2007 May;26(5):485-93.

Inhibition of chemokine receptor CCR2 and CCR5 expression contributes to simvastatin-induced attenuation of cardiac allograft vasculopathy.

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  • 1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Jinling Hospital, Clinical Medicine School of Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.



Accumulating evidence reveals that statins possess pleiotropic properties beyond cholesterol reduction, which may contribute to the attenuation of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV). Recent in vitro data suggest that statins could down-regulate chemokine receptors. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that simvastatin ameliorates CAV development via the inhibition of chemokine receptor expression in an inbred rat model of cardiac transplantation.


Animals were divided into four groups: isograft; control (cyclosporine [CsA] + vehicle); low-dose simvastatin (LSIM; CsA + 5 mg/kg simvastatin); and high-dose simvastatin (HSIM; CsA + 10 mg/kg simvastatin). Donor hearts from Fisher 344 rats were transplanted heterotopically into Lewis rat recipients. CsA was administered at 1.5 mg/kg/day for 2 weeks post-operatively. In addition, recipients were treated daily with simvastatin or vehicle for 8 weeks. Donor hearts were harvested for histopathologic and immunohistochemical examination. Intragraft concentration of chemokines and chemokine receptor expression were analyzed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively.


Both low and high doses of simvastatin significantly decreased the CAV score; inhibited recruitment of T lymphocytes and macrophages; reduced levels of intragraft MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1), RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted) protein and IP-10 (interferon-inducible protein-10); and down-regulated expression of chemokine receptors CCR2 and CCR5. CXCR3 expression was not affected by simvastatin treatment.


Our results demonstrate that simvastatin may attenuate CAV development, possibly through retarding intragraft chemokine accumulation and chemokine receptor expression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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