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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Sep;91(9):680-5. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2012-0325. Epub 2013 Apr 8.

Effect of atorvastatin on atherosclerotic plaque formation and platelet activation in hypercholesterolemic rats.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Bozok University, 66200 Yozgat, Turkey.


We aimed to investigate whether atorvastatin influenced the CD40-CD40L pathway in atherosclerosis formation in rats fed a high cholesterol diet. Thirty-six male Wistar rats were divided among 4 groups as follows: control (C), statin (S), 5% cholesterol fed (HC), and statin-administered hypercholesterolemic (HCS). Serum levels of lipids, soluble CD40L, platelet factor 4, and interleukin-6 were assayed with commercial kits. The number of platelets expressing surface P-selectin, CD40, and CD40L were determined by flow cytometry. Aortas were examined for fatty streaks. In the HC group, we observed a significant increase in serum lipid levels and platelet activation markers compared with the control group. Rats in the HCS group had a significant decrease in lipid levels and downregulation in the number of platelets expressing surface P-selectin, CD40, and CD40L compared with the HC group. We observed decreased fatty streak formations in aortas in HCS rats. A positive correlation was found for platelet activation markers and atherosclerotic fatty streak formations. Regression analysis revealed that the predictor of atherosclerosis was CD40L. Our study suggests that in a rat hypercholesterolemic model, statin treatment may influence the CD40-CD40L dyad, and that this effect is parallelled by a suppression of progression of atherosclerotic plaque formation.

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