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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Feb 17;1619(3):332-9.

Cytochrome P450 epoxygenases and vascular tone: novel role for HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in the regulation of CYP 2C expression.

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Institut für Kardiovaskuläre Physiologie, Klinikum der J.W.G.-Universität, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, D-60590, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Over the last 10 years it has become increasingly clear that cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes expressed within endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells play a crucial role in the modulation of vascular homeostasis. There is strong evidence suggesting that the activation of a CYP 2C epoxygenase in endothelial cells is an essential step in nitric oxide (NO)- and prostacyclin (PGI(2))-independent vasodilatation of several vascular beds, particularly in the heart and kidney. Moreover, CYP epoxygenase products as well as CYP-derived reactive oxygen species are intracellular signal transduction molecules involved in several signaling cascades affecting numerous cellular processes, including vascular cell proliferation and angiogenesis. Various pharmacological compounds enhance vascular CYP 2C expression. One group of substances which highlight the possible effects of CYP induction in endothelial cells on vascular function are the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). Cerivastatin and fluvastatin increase CYP 2C mRNA and protein in native and cultured endothelial cells, and enhance the bradykinin-induced NO/PGI(2)-independent relaxation of arterial segments as well as the generation of reactive oxygen species. However, statins also increase the expression of the endothelial NO synthase by approximately twofold. As a consequence, the probability that NO and reactive oxygen species react to generate peroxynitrite is increased and the treatment of vascular segments with statins resulted in enhanced protein tyrosine nitration. These data highlight the role played by CYP 2C in vascular homeostasis and its potential regulation by cardiovascular drugs.

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