Simvastatin attenuation of cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage in rats via increased phosphorylation of Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase

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Abstract

The mechanisms involved in simvastatin-mediated attenuation of cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) are unclear. We investigated the role of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt (PI3K/Akt) pathway and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in the cerebral vasculature in statin-mediated attenuation of cerebral vasospasm using wortmannin, an irreversible pharmacological PI3K inhibitor, and a rat SAH endovascular perforation model. Simvastatin was administered intraperitoneally in two dosages (1 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg) at 0.5, 24, and 48 hr after SAH and histological parameters of ipsilateral intracranial carotid artery (ICA) were assessed at 24 and 72 hr. SAH significantly decreased ICA diameter and perimeter while increasing wall thickness at both 24 and 72 hr. High-dosage simvastatin prevented the reduction of ICA diameter and perimeter following SAH, whereas both high and low dosages reduced wall thickness significantly at 24 and 72 hr. The effects of simvastatin were significantly reversed by wortmannin. High-dosage simvastatin increased pAkt and peNOS (phosphorylated forms) levels without increasing Akt and eNOS expression compared with the SAH group and also improved neurological deficits at 24 and 72 hr. Simvastatin did not affect protein levels by itself compared with untreated sham group. The present study elucidates the critical role of the PI3K activation leading to phosphorylation of Akt and eNOS in simvastatin-mediated attenuation of cerebral vasospasm after SAH.

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