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Comp Med. 2009 Dec;59(6):567-72.

Ribonucleotide reductase inhibitors reduce atherosclerosis in a double-injury rabbit model.

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Division of University Laboratory Animal Resources and the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Atheroproliferative disorders such as atherosclerosis are an important health problem and one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Minimally invasive therapeutic procedures, including angioplasty with stent deployment, are used frequently for obstructive coronary artery disease. However, restenosis, a proliferative vascular response, is a common sequela to this procedure. The current study investigated the effect of inhibiting ribonucleotide reductase (RR), an enzyme necessary for cellular proliferation, in an attempt to ameliorate the proliferative response. Two RR inhibitors, didox and hydroxyurea, were chosen for their potent antiproliferative properties. Studies were carried out by using a double-injury rabbit model, in which endothelial denudation was followed by the administration of a high-fat diet. At 4 wk after initial endothelial denudation, the developing atherosclerotic lesion was subjected to transluminal balloon dilation to simulate clinical intervention with percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. The degree of restenosis and atheroproliferation was assessed at 8 wk. Histologic evaluation of the lesion demonstrated that treatment with didox and hydroxyurea significantly decreased lesion area and lumen loss. These results suggest that RR inhibition may be an effective new tool for the treatment of atheroproliferative disorders.

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