In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) the inflammatory response is often steroid-resistant, likely since oxidative stress and cigarette smoking impair histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) activity. Since it has been demonstrated that statins may restore the HDAC2 activity in cultured human endothelial cells, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of statins in reversing the steroid-resistance induced by oxidative stress.
We evaluated the effects of simvastatin and dexamethasone on HDAC2 expression and activity, and the role of mevalonate and Rho/ROCK pathways in A549 cells, a human lung type II epithelial cell line stressed with H2O2.
Our results documented that H2O2 significantly reduced the HDAC2 expression and activity. In H2O2 treated cells dexamethasone was unable to restore the activity of HDAC2, whereas simvastatin restored both the expression and the activity of this enzyme. Our data also showed that mevalonate reduced the activity of HDAC2 whereas Y27632, a Rho/ROCK inhibitor, had no effect on HDAC2 activity when co-administered with simvastatin.
Our data suggest that statins could have the potential to restore corticosteroid sensitivity in A549 cells. The evidences of this study suggest that, although both mevalonate and Rho/ROCK pathways are involved in the detrimental effect elicited by oxidative stress, statins may restore the function and expression of depleted HDAC2 via modulating the mevalonate cascade, at least in A549 cells. In conclusion, the modulation of histone acetyltransferase/deacetylase activity may lead to the development of novel anti-inflammatory approaches to inflammatory lung diseases that are currently difficult to treat.