3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaryl Coenzyme A Reductase Inhibitors Increase Fibrinolytic Activity in Rat Aortic Endothelial Cells: Role of Geranylgeranylation and Rho Proteins

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Abstract

3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors (HRIs) have been recently shown to prevent atherosclerosis progression. Clinical benefit results from combined actions on various components of the atherosclerotic lesion. This study was designed to identify the effects of HRI on one of these components, the endothelial fibrinolytic system. Aortas isolated from rats treated for 2 days with lovastatin (4 mg/kg body wt per day) showed a 3-fold increase in tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) activity. In a rat aortic endothelial cell line (SVARECs) and in human nontransformed endothelial cells (HUVECs), HRI induced an increase in tPA activity and antigen in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. In SVARECs, the maximal response was observed when cells were incubated for 48 hours with 50 [micro sign]mol/L HRI. An increase of tPA mRNA was also in evidence. In contrast, HRI inhibited plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity and mRNA. The effects of HRI were reversed by mevalonate and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate, but not by LDL cholesterol and farnesyl pyrophosphate, and were not induced by alpha-hydroxyfarnesyl phosphonic acid, an inhibitor of protein farnesyl transferase. C3 exoenzyme, an inhibitor of the geranylgeranylated-activated Rho protein, reproduced the effect of lovastatin on tPA and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity and blocked its reversal by geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. The effect of HRI was associated with a disruption of cellular actin filaments without modification of microtubules. A disrupter of actin filaments, cytochalasin D, induced the same effect as lovastatin on tPA, whereas a disrupter of microtubules, nocodazole, did not. In conclusion, HRI can modify the fibrinolytic potential of endothelial cells, likely via inhibition of geranylgeranylated Rho protein and disruption of the actin filaments. The resulting increase of fibrinolytic activity of endothelial cells may contribute to the beneficial effects of HRI in the progression of atherosclerosis. (Circ Res. 1998;83:683-690.)

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