Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Aug 1;303(3):H377-85. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00289.2012. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Statin therapy lowers muscle sympathetic nerve activity and oxidative stress in patients with heart failure.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, 65212, USA.


Despite standard drug therapy, sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) remains high in heart failure (HF) patients making the sympathetic nervous system a primary drug target in the treatment of HF. Studies in rabbits with pacing-induced HF have demonstrated that statins reduce resting SNA, in part, due to reductions in reactive oxygen species (ROS). Whether these findings can be extended to the clinical setting of human HF remains unclear. We first performed a study in seven statin-naïve HF patients (56 ± 2 yr; ejection fraction: 31 ± 4%) to determine if 1 mo of simvastatin (40 mg/day) reduces muscle SNA (MSNA). Next, to control for possible placebo effects and determine the effect of simvastatin on ROS, a double-blinded, placebo-controlled crossover design study was performed in six additional HF patients (51 ± 3 yr; ejection fraction: 22 ± 4%), and MSNA, ROS, and superoxide were measured. We tested the hypothesis that statin therapy decreases resting MSNA in HF patients and this would be associated with reductions in ROS. In study 1, simvastatin reduced resting MSNA (75 ± 5 baseline vs. 65 ± 5 statin bursts/100 heartbeats; P < 0.05). Likewise, in study 2, simvastatin also decreased resting MSNA (59 ± 5 placebo vs. 45 ± 6 statin bursts/100 heartbeats; P < 0.05). In addition, statin therapy significantly reduced total ROS and superoxide. As expected, cholesterol was reduced after simvastatin. Collectively, these findings indicate that short-term statin therapy concomitantly reduces resting MSNA and total ROS and superoxide in HF patients. Thus, in addition to lowering cholesterol, statins may also be beneficial in reducing sympathetic overactivity and oxidative stress in HF patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk