Inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase (statins) are widely used for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Besides this very important action, several other effects of statins, contributing to the general benefit of patients with coronary heart disease, have recently been demonstrated. These include: stabilization of atheroma plaques; inhibition of platelet aggregation; anti-inflammatory effects; improvement of vasomotor and endothelial function; antiproliferative effects on vascular smooth muscle cells; and effects on fibrinolytic activity, resulting in a decreased mortality from coronary heart disease, regardless of the influence on the serum cholesterol levels. Other effects of statins involve antioxidative, immunomodulatory and potential anti-tumor activities, as has been suggested by a number of studies either demonstrating the beneficiary activities of statins on the rejection of transplanted organs, or the low prevalence of cancer in patients having received statin medication. The aim of the present survey is to summarize current knowledge in this biomedical field and to demonstrate the enormous curative potential of this group of drugs.
Keywords: Statins, HMG-CoA reductase, atherosclerosis, cancer, inflammation, apoptosis, proliferation, immunomodulation
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