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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Nov;291(5):H2522-32. Epub 2006 Jul 14.

Comparative effects of pitavastatin and probucol on oxidative stress, Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase, PPAR-gamma, and aortic stiffness in hypercholesterolemia.

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Pharmaceutical Clinical Research Center, Yamaguchi Univ. Hospital, 1-1-1 Minami-Kogushi, Ube, Yamaguchi 755-8505 Japan.


Reactive oxygen species-scavenging enzyme Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) regulated by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) plays an important role in vascular responsiveness. However, it remains unknown whether statin restores vascular dysfunction through the activation of reactive oxygen species-scavenging enzymes in vivo. We hypothesized that pitavastatin restores vascular function by modulating oxidative stress through the activation of Cu/ZnSOD and PPAR-gamma in hypercholesterolemia. New Zealand White male rabbits were fed either normal chow or a 1% cholesterol (CHO) diet for 14 wk. After the first 7 wk, the CHO-fed rabbits were further divided into three groups: those fed with CHO feed only (HC), those additionally given pitavastatin, and those additionally given an antioxidant, probucol. The extent of atherosclerosis was assessed by examining aortic stiffness. When compared with the HC group, both the pitavastatin and probucol groups showed improved aortic stiffness by reducing aortic levels of reactive oxidative stress, nitrotyrosine, and collagen, without affecting serum cholesterol or blood pressure levels. Pitavastatin restored both Cu/ZnSOD activity (P < 0.005) and PPAR-gamma expression and activity (P < 0.01) and inhibited NAD(P)H oxidase activity (P < 0.0001) in the aorta, whereas probucol inhibited NAD(P)H oxidase activity more than did pitavastatin (P < 0.0005) without affecting Cu/ZnSOD activity or PPAR-gamma expression and activity. Importantly, Cu/ZnSOD activity was positively correlated with the PPAR-gamma activity in the aorta (P < 0.005), both of which were negatively correlated with aortic stiffness (P < 0.05). Vascular Cu/ZnSOD and PPAR-gamma may play a crucial role in the antiatherogenic effects of pitavastatin in hypercholesterolemia in vivo.

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