Rosuvastatin upregulates the antioxidant defense protein heme oxygenase-1.

Research paper by N N Grosser, K K Erdmann, A A Hemmerle, G G Berndt, U U Hinkelmann, G G Smith, H H Schröder

Indexed on: 16 Nov '04Published on: 16 Nov '04Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications


Cholesterol-independent, pleiotropic actions of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) lead to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions by as yet unidentified mechanisms. This study explores the role of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) as target and potential mediator of rosuvastatin. In cultured human endothelial cells (ECV 304), rosuvastatin increased HO-1 mRNA and protein levels in a concentration-dependent fashion. HO-1 induction by rosuvastatin remained unaffected by mevalonate and N-nitro-L-arginine-methylester, showing that isoprenoid- and NO-dependent pathways were not involved. Pretreatment of endothelial cells with rosuvastatin reduced NADPH-dependent production of oxygen radicals. The HO-1 metabolite bilirubin, when added exogenously to the cells, virtually abolished NADPH-dependent oxidative stress. Rosuvastatin-induced inhibition of free radical formation was rescued in the presence of the HO inhibitor, tin protoporphyrin-IX. Our results demonstrate that HO-1 is a target site and antioxidant mediator of rosuvastatin in endothelial cells. This novel pathway may contribute to and partially explain the pleiotropic antiatherogenic actions of rosuvastatin.