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Pleiotropic Effects of Statins in Atherosclerotic Disease: Focus on the Antioxidant Activity of Atorvastatin

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 22 ]

Author(s):

Elisabetta Profumo, Brigitta Buttari, Luciano Saso and Rachele Rigano   Pages 2542 - 2551 ( 10 )

Abstract:


Cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of mortality in the Western World, are closely associated with atherosclerosis development. Atherosclerosis is a chronic multifactorial disease of the arterial wall characterized by endothelial dysfunction, inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an alteration of the balance between pro-oxidant and antioxidant mechanisms which promotes vascular complications and represents a valid therapeutic target to prevent or treat cardiovascular diseases. Statins are enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors that have been included in the therapeutic regimen of cardiovascular diseases due to their lipid-lowering activity. Experimental and clinical data demonstrated that the antiatherogenic effects of these drugs are also related to other pleiotropic activities, particularly to their anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic and antioxidant effects. This review summarizes experimental and clinical studies demonstrating the impact of statins on atherosclerotic disease with a focus on the antioxidant activity of atorvastatin. Atorvastatin is a synthetic statin characterized by a high efficacy, in part due to its longer half-life compared to other molecules of the same group. It also exerts high antioxidant effects, independent from its hypolipidemic activity, beneficial for the prevention and therapy of atherosclerosis.

Keywords:

Atherosclerosis, Atorvastatin, Endothelial dysfunction, Inflammation, Oxidative stress, Reactive oxygen species.

Affiliation:

Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy.

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