Effect of pitavastatin on experimental choroidal neovascularization in rats

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The association between the use of statins and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness, has been evaluated in many clinical studies; however, the results have been contradictory. We evaluated the effect of pitavastatin administration on laser-induced experimental choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in rats. Brown Norway rats received pitavastatin (1.0 mg/kg per day) for 1 day prior to laser-induced CNV and continued to receive the drug for 14 days. Fluorescein angiograms were graded by masked observers. CNV area and thickness were assessed by fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled dextran angiography and histology, respectively. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (Ccl-2; also known as MCP-1), and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) mRNA levels were measured using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Pitavastatin-treated rats had significantly less fluorescence leakage compared with the vehicle-treated rats estimated by CNV score using fluorescein angiography. Both the area and the thickness of CNV in pitavastatin-treated rats were significantly reduced compared with the vehicle-treated rats. Gene expression of VEGF, Ccl-2, and ICAM-1 were significantly decreased by pitavastatin administration in experimental CNV. Thus, we demonstrated that the therapeutic dose of pitavastatin for human hypocholesterolemia effectively suppressed experimental CNV in rats. The use of pitavastatin may be helpful in preventing CNV development in AMD patients.

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