Simvastatin ameliorates graft-vs-host disease by regulating angiopoietin-1 and angiopoietin-2 in a murine model.
Angiopoietins play an important role in vascular endothelial function. Endothelial damage is an important pathogenesis relating with acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), protecting endothelial cells (ECs) from damage may be a potent prophylaxis and therapeutic strategy of acute GVHD (aGVHD). In this study, we explored changes in Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) and Ang-2 expression in a aGVHD mouse model and determined whether simvastatin prevents GVHD through regulating Ang-1 and Ang-2 expression. In vitro simvastatin administration increased Ang-1 production and release but conversely inhibited Ang-2 release from EA.hy926 ECs. Simvastatin improved the survival of aGVHD mice, attenuated the histopathological GVHD grades and plasma levels of Ang-2, and elevated the plasma levels of Ang-1 as well as the aortic endothelial levels of Ang-1 and Ang-2. In summary, simvastatin represents a novel approach to combat GVHD by increasing Ang-1 production while suppressing Ang-2 release to stabilize endothelial cells.