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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2002 Oct 1;22(10):1524-34.

Statin therapy in acute coronary syndromes: mechanistic insight into clinical benefit.

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Dyslipoproteinemia and Atherosclerosis Research Unit, National Institute for Health and Medical Research U551, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpetriere, Paris, France.


Randomized trials have established that statin treatment reduces coronary events in primary prevention and in patients with stable coronary artery disease. In unstable coronary artery disease, however, the pathophysiological background is distinct, and the potential benefits of statin therapy have not been evaluated until recently. Data from animal models and clinical studies indicate that statin treatment can influence a spectrum of molecular and cellular mechanisms that are intimately related to the pathogenesis of acute coronary syndromes; these include the reduction of circulating levels of atherogenic lipoproteins (very low density lipoprotein, very low density lipoprotein remnants, intermediate density lipoprotein, and low density lipoprotein) and thus of arterial lipid deposition and the attenuation of inflammation, modulation of thrombogenesis and thrombolysis, improvement of endothelial dysfunction, and reduction of ischemia/reperfusion injury. Indeed, findings from prospective and observational studies have demonstrated that statin treatment significantly improves clinical outcome after acute coronary syndromes. Therefore, early initiation of statin therapy after an acute coronary event not only enhances adherence to treatment but also preempts the occurrence of new events. In this review, we discuss recent important developments in our knowledge of the clinical evidence of the beneficial effects of early statin therapy in acute coronary syndromes and the biological mechanisms that underlie them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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