Inhibition of 3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaryl Coenzyme A (HMG CoA) Reductase Blunts Factor VIIa/Tissue Factor and Prothrombinase Activities via Effects on Membrane Phosphatidylserine

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3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) exhibit antithrombotic properties that are independent of reductions in circulating LDL cholesterol. We hypothesized that these antithrombotic properties are mediated by membrane alterations secondary to disrupted lipid metabolism.

Methods and Results—

EA.hy926 cells were incubated in the presence of 1 μmol/L atorvastatin supplemented with fetal bovine serum or lipid-depleted serum mixtures. Lipid restriction alone had no effect on cell lipid composition but when atorvastatin was included, phosphatidylserine, sphingomyelin, and cholesterol were reduced by 50% while ceramide content decreased by 70%. These changes in lipid composition did not alter the association of decay accelerating factor or tissue factor with lipid rafts. Atorvastatin in combination with lipid restriction reduced factor VIIa/tissue factor activity by as much as 75% but did not alter tissue factor expression. Prothrombinase activity was reduced to an extent similar to factor VIIa/tissue factor. Mevalonic acid but not LDL reversed the observed changes in lipid content and prothrombinase activity induced by atorvastatin. These findings were confirmed in primary cells.


Inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase limits exposure of phosphatidylserine at the cell surface by restricting the cellular pool of mevalonate-derived isoprenoids. This membrane alteration restricts the activity of proteolytic enzyme complexes that propagate the coagulation cascade.

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