Statins may promote angiogenesis in animals

Capillary formation in ischemic limbs may be a beneficial side effect for normocholesterolemic patients.

By | August 31, 2000

LONDON, August 31 (SPIS MedWire). Simvastatin promotes the growth of blood vessels both in vitro and in vivo, according to a paper in the September issue of Nature Medicine. A team from Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, incubated human umbilical vein endothelial cells with simvastatin, which caused a dose-dependent increase in phosphorylation of protein kinase Akt. The team then examined the effect of simvastatin, pravastatin and vascular endothelial growth (VEGF) in normocholesterolemic rabbits that had undergone resection of the right femoral artery, resulting in a marked decrease in hind limb perfusion. According to the report, "animals receiving statin treatment displayed more detectable collateral vessels than the untreated control group at 40 days following resection". Also, "the limbs of the treated animals displayed reduced hemodynamic effect …and promoted capillary formation in the ischemic limb". Yasuko Kureishi and the multicenter team concluded that the, "Activation of Akt represents a mechanism that can account for some of the beneficial side effects of statins, including the promotion of new blood vessel growth." However, in an accompanying editorial, Michael Simons of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center questions whether statins are truly angiogenic, since this effect has not been reported clinically despite their widespread use.

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