Statins are inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), the rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol synthesis. In recent years, statins have become the major choice of treatment for hypercholesterolemia. Emerging evidence from both animal and human studies indicates that mechanisms independent of cholesterol lowering effects contribute to the observed clinical benefits of statins. The anti-hypertrophy effect of statins on the cardiac tissue represents one of such mechanisms. The beneficial effects of statins on cardiac hypertrophy and cardioprotection may be attributed to their functional influences on small G proteins such as Ras and Rho, resulting in an increase of endogenous nitric oxide (NO), reduction of oxidative stress, inhibition of inflammatory reaction, and decrease of the renin-angiotensin system activity as well as C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in cardiac tissues. Recent findings from in vitro and in vivo studies of statins on cardioprotective effects are summarized in this review. The unveiled novel mechanisms support the use of statins as the new mainstay therapeutic agents for various cardiovascular diseases and complications.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease, g proteins, inflammation, nitric oxide, oxidative stress, statins
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