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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2011 Jul;30(7):761-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2011.01.720. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Prevention of transplant coronary artery disease by prenylation inhibitors.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.



In this study we systematically dissect the prenylation pathway to better define the mechanism behind statin inhibition in chronic allograft rejection in heart transplants, or transplant coronary artery disease (TCAD).


Utilizing a murine heterotopic heart transplant model, animals received daily treatments of either statin or selective isoprenoid blockade inhibitors to block the four major downstream branches of the mevalonate pathway. TCAD was assessed by morphometric analysis at Day 52. Graft-infiltrating cells, cytokine production, smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration and endothelial cell MHC II expression were detected on Day 7.


Atorvastatin and two prenylation inhibitors, NE-10790 and manumycin A, significantly reduced TCAD lesions compared with untreated animals. Perillyl alcohol treatment resulted in a trend toward decreased luminal narrowing. Finally, zaragozic acid (cholesterol blockade only) did not alter TCAD severity. Statins and prenylation inhibitors reduced inflammatory cell allograft recruitment, but did not always correlate with TCAD reduction. Cytokine production was decreased in recipient spleens in all treatment groups. Both in vitro and in vivo IFN-γ-stimulated MHC II expression was decreased in a dose-dependent manner in the atorvastatin, perillyl alcohol and NE-10790 groups. In vitro smooth muscle cell proliferation was decreased in all treatment groups. Finally, in vitro smooth muscle cell migration was decreased in the atorvastatin, NE-10790 and manumycin A groups only.


FPT and GGPT-2 (inhibition) are the key enzymes in the HGM-CoA reductase pathway and most influential in TCAD prevention. TCAD reduction is most closely related to smooth muscle cell migration, but not its anti-inflammatory properties.

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