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Short-term effect of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor rosuvastatin on erythrocyte nitric oxide synthase activity

Authors Barbara Ludolph, Wilhelm Bloch, Malte Kelm, Rainer Schulz, Petra Kleinbongard

Published 15 January 2008 Volume 2007:3(6) Pages 1069—1073


Barbara Ludolph1, Wilhelm Bloch2, Malte Kelm1, Rainer Schulz3, Petra Kleinbongard1

1Department of Medicine, Medical Clinic I, University Hospital RTWH Aachen, Germany; 2Department of Molecular and Cellular Sport Medicine, Sport University Cologne, Germany; 3Institute of Pathophysiology, Medical School, University of Essen, Germany

Abstract: Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disorders by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (or statins), beyond their lipid-lowering properties, have been demonstrated including activation of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Beside endothelial cells, red blood cells (RBCs) possess NOS and produce nitric oxide (NO), which contributes to RBC deformability. The present study tested the capacity of statins to activate NOS in RBCs and subsequently to modulate RBC deformability in vitro. Blood samples of healthy young volunteers were incubated with or without rosuvastatin. Afterwards RBC-NOS activity and RBC deformability were determined. Rosuvastatin incubation significantly increased NOS phosphorylation, NOS dependent NO-formation, and RBC deformability. The NOS inhibitor NG- monomethyl-L-arginine reversed the stimulatory effect of rosuvastatin on RBC-NOS activity. This NO dependent effect of rosuvastatin might have an important influence on microcirculation and may offer new perspectives for the therapeutic use of statins.
Keywords: red blood cell, nitric oxide synthase, red blood cell deformability, statin

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