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Benefits of statin therapy may extend beyond lowering lipids
Date:1/4/2012

er an injury, such as cutting your finger. However, it is expressed at high levels under certain abnormal conditions, such as inside atherosclerotic plaques, and gets turned on in a special subset of blood cells called monocytes. Mackman wondered if this was the cause for the abnormal clotting seen in patients with high cholesterol.

To test his hypothesis, Mackman and his colleagues analyzed humans, monkeys and mice with high cholesterol. They found that all three groups have elevated levels of tissue factor in the circulation. Then the researchers treated the mice and monkeys with simvastatin, a drug widely used to treat high blood cholesterol levels. They showed that simvastatin reduced levels of oxidized low density lipoprotein and circulating tissue factor which normalized coagulation without altering plasma cholesterol levels.

These results suggest that oxidized low density lipoproteins induce tissue factor expression on monocytes and this contributes to formation of an occlusive thrombus after plaque rupture.

"Though statin therapy is primarily prescribed to lower cholesterol, some added benefits are its anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic activities," said Mackman. "In terms of drug development, I think we should be trying to better understand the antithrombotic activities of statins so we can develop safer antithrombotic drugs that target the expression of inducible tissue factor."


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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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