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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Jun;292(6):H3158-63. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Cardioprotective effect of rosuvastatin in vivo is dependent on inhibition of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate and altered RhoA membrane translocation.

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Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Hydroxymethyl glutaryl (HMG)-coenzyme A (CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) protect the myocardium against ischemia-reperfusion injury via a mechanism unrelated to cholesterol lowering. Statins may inhibit isoprenylation and thereby prevent activation of proteins such as RhoA. We hypothesized that statins protect the myocardium against ischemia-reperfusion injury via a mechanism involving inhibition of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthesis and translocation of RhoA to the plasma membrane. Sprague-Dawley rats were given either the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor rosuvastatin, geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate dissolved in methanol, the combination of rosuvastatin and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate, rosuvastatin and methanol, or distilled water (control) by intraperitoneal injection for 48 h before ischemia-reperfusion. Animals were anesthetized and either subjected to 30 min of coronary artery occlusion followed by 2 h of reperfusion where at infarct size was determined, or the expression of RhoA protein was determined in cytosolic and membrane fractions of nonischemic myocardium. There were no significant differences in hemodynamics between the control group and the other groups before ischemia or during ischemia and reperfusion. The infarct size was 80 +/- 3% of the area at risk in the control group. Rosuvastatin reduced infarct size to 64 +/- 2% (P<0.001 vs. control). Addition of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (77 +/- 2%, P<0.01 vs. rosuvastatin) but not methanol (65 +/- 2%, not significant vs. rosuvastatin) abolished the cardioprotective effect of rosuvastatin. Geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate alone did not affect infarct size per se (84 +/- 2%). Rosuvastatin increased the cytosol-to-membrane ratio of RhoA protein in the myocardium (P<0.05 vs. control). These changes were abolished by addition of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. We conclude that the cardioprotection and the increase of the RhoA cytosol-to-membrane ratio induced by rosuvastatin in vivo are blocked by geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. The inhibition of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate formation and subsequent modulation of cytosol/membrane-bound RhoA are of importance for the protective effect of statins against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury.

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