HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors reduce nicotine-induced expression of cellular adhesion molecules in cultured human coronary endothelial cells.


BACKGROUND Smoking predisposes to the development of atherosclerosis and of its complications. The mechanisms responsible for these effects are not completely understood. We have investigated whether nicotine might promote a proatherosclerotic state in human coronary endothelial cells (HCAECs), studying the role of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors in preventing these phenomena. METHODS AND RESULTS Real-time PCR showed that nicotine induced a dose-dependent increase in mRNA levels for vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1)/intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Fluorescent-activated cell sorting analysis showed that nicotine induced expression of functionally active VCAM-1/ICAM-1, since they increased leukocyte adherence to HCAECs. Oxygen free radicals, Rho A and nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) play a pivotal role in modulating these effects. Indeed, nicotine caused oxygen free radical production as well as activation of Rho A and NF-kappaB pathways, evaluated by malondialdehyde levels, pulldown assay and by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, respectively. Superoxide dimutase, Rho A (Y-27639) and NF-kappaB inhibitors (pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate ammonium, Bay 11-7082) suppressed nicotine effects on CAM expression. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors prevented these nicotine-mediated effects by inhibiting free radical generation and by modulating activation of Rho A and NF-kappaB pathways. CONCLUSIONS Nicotine promotes CAM expression on HCAECs, shifting them toward a proatherosclerotic state. These effects might explain, at least in part, the deleterious cardiovascular consequences of cigarette smoking. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors play an important role in preventing these phenomena.


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