Inflammation may be one of the independent risk factors contributing to many neurological diseases. Moreover, there is an emerging body of data indicating that statins may have neuroprotective action. Recent studies suggest that CD40-CD40 ligand (CD40L) system is proven to be an important mediator of several auto-immune and chronic inflammation diseases. To address whether lovastatin produces neuroprotection as a potential novel anti-inflammatory pathway through the inhibition of CD40 expression, we examined the possible effects of lovastatin on expression of CD40, apoptosis, level of nitric oxide (NO) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity induced by tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) in the cerebral vascular endothelial cells (CVECs) involved in cerebrovascular diseases. Preincubation with lovastatin (10-7, 10-6 and 10-5 mol/l) for 24 hours (h) protected CVECs from TNF-α-induced decrease of cellular viability. Further, lovastatin inhibited the TNF-α-induced increases of NO level, NOS activity, apoptotic cells and CD40 expression in a dosedependent manner, and anti-CD40 antibody also inhibited the cellular apoptosis induced by TNF-α. In conclusion, our data provide evidence to support a direct pro-inflammatory effect of CD40-CD40L signaling pathway in CVECs, and lovastatin possesses an anti-inflammatory effect independent of its lipid-lowering action involved in the cerebrovascular diseases.
Keywords: Lovastatin, TNF-α, CD40, apoptosis, NO, NOS, cerebral vascular endothelial cell
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