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J Thromb Haemost. 2011 Aug;9(8):1608-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1538-7836.2011.04366.x.

Statins prevent tissue factor induction by protease-activated receptors 1 and 2 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro.

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  • 1Centro Cardiologico Monzino IRCCS, Milan, Italy.



Protease-activated receptors (PARs) are G-protein-coupled receptors that function in hemostasis and thrombosis, as well as in the inflammatory and proliferative responses triggered by tissue injury. We have previously shown that PAR1 or PAR2 occupancy by specific PAR-agonist peptides (PAR-APs) induces tissue factor (TF) expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), where TF regulation by PAR1 (but not by PAR2) requires intact endothelial caveolin-enriched membrane microdomains in which PAR1 and caveolin-1 associate.


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of cholesterol-lowering agents (statins) and cholesterol-loading lipoprotein on PAR1-AP-mediated and PAR2-AP-mediated TF induction in HUVECs.


Statins completely prevented TF induction by PAR-APs in an isoprenoid-independent manner, induced the delocalization of PAR1 from caveolin-enriched membrane microdomains without affecting PAR1 mRNA, and decreased PAR2 mRNA and protein levels. Statins also prevented PAR-AP-mediated extracellular signal-related kinase 1/2 activation, which is crucial for TF induction. The redistribution of PAR1 is accompanied by the relocation of the membrane microdomain-associated G-protein α, caveolin-1, and Src, which we previously showed to play a key role in signal transduction and TF induction. Conversely, cholesterol loading potently amplified PAR1-AP-induced TF, probably as a result of the increased abundance of PAR1 and the Src and G-protein α signaling molecules in the caveolin-1-enriched fraction, without affecting PAR1 mRNA.


As PARs have important functions in hemostasis, cancer, thrombosis, and inflammatory processes, our findings that statins prevent TF induction by PAR-APs altering the membrane localization of PAR1 and the expression of PAR2 suggest that they may provide health benefits other than reducing atherosclerosis.

© 2011 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

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