3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, generically termed statins, are widely prescribed for their cholesterol-lowering properties. In addition to lipid-lowering properties, statins have pleiotropic effects including anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and antiproliferative effects. Recently, data from experimental and observational studies have indicated that statins could also become a treatment option for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Many neurodegenerative diseases particularly affect the retina and other ocular structures and are the cause for blindness. This review, focused on recent clinical and experimental data, discusses known and putative mechanisms of statin actions underlying neuroprotective effects in relevant retinal and eye diseases. In addition, it presents evidence for the role of heat shock proteins (Hsps) as target of statin-mediated neuroprotective effects in ocular diseases.
Keywords: Statin, retina, eye diseases, neuroprotection, cholesterol, isoprenylation
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