Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica     
Massaro M., Zampolli A., Scoditti E., Carluccio M. A., Storelli C., Distante A., De Caterina R. Statins inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 in human endothelial cells: anti-angiogenic actions possibly contributing to plaque stability. In: Cardiovascular Research, vol. 86 (2) pp. 311 - 320. Oxford Journal, 2010.
AIMS: Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression is increased in inflammation and angiogenesis and also in atherosclerotic plaques, where it co-localizes with metalloproteinases (MMPs) involved in the fibrous cap weakening. Insight into the regulation of COX-2 and MMP-9 expression suggests the involvement of a Rho-dependent pathway. Because statins interfere with Rho activation, we investigated the statin effect on COX-2 and MMP expressions in the human endothelium. METHODS AND RESULTS: Simvastatin and atorvastatin were incubated with endothelial cells for 12 h before stimulation with phorbol myristate acetate or tumour necrosis factor-alpha, for times suitable to assess the endothelial tube differentiation on Matrigel and COX-2 and MMPs activities, proteins, and mRNA expressions. At 0.1-10 micromol/L, both statins reduced COX-2 expression and activity, without affecting COX-1. The statin effect was reversed by mevalonate and geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate and mimicked by the Rho inhibitor C3 transferase, indicating the involvement of Rho in the signal transduction pathway leading to COX-2 expression. In parallel, statins, as well as COX-2 inhibitors, reduced the MMP-9 stimulated release and the endothelial tubular differentiation. CONCLUSION: In the human vascular endothelium, statins reduce COX-2 and MMP-9 expression and activity. Through this mechanism, statins exert an anti-angiogenic effect possibly contributing to the cholesterol-lowering-unrelated protective effects of statins against plaque inflammatory angiogenesis and rupture
Subject angiogenesis

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