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Canadian Journal of Cardiology

HIGH-INTENSITY STATINS COMBINED WITH EICOSAPENTAENOIC ACID (EPA) IMPROVES ENDOTHELIAL FUNCTION DURING EXPOSURE TO OXIDIZED LDL

      Background

      During atherosclerosis, endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction results in reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and increased cytotoxic peroxynitrite (ONOO−). This loss of NO bioavailability results in abnormal vasodilation and inflammatory changes. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) administered as icosapent ethyl (IPE) reduced cardiovascular (CV) events in high-risk patients treated with statins (REDUCE-IT). We tested the effects of high-intensity statins and EPA in ECs exposed to oxidized LDL (oxLDL).

      Methods and Results

      Human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs) were pretreated with 20 mg/dL oxLDL for 20 min, then treated with atorvastatin (active metabolite, ATM) and rosuvastatin (rosuva) at 1.0 μM ± EPA (10μM) for 1 hr. Cells were stimulated with calcium and assayed for the NO/ONOO− release ratio using nanosensors. ECs exposed to oxLDL showed a 60% reduction in NO release compared with vehicle (386±29 to 156±18 nM, p< 0.001) concomitant with a pronounced increase in ONOO− release (205±31 to 283±16 nM, p< 0.001), resulting in a >70% decrease in the NO/ONOO− release ratio (p < 0.001). ECs treated with ATM had an improved NO/ONOO− release ratio (53%) that increased in combination with EPA by 216% (p < 0.01). Similar results were observed for EPA in combination with rosuvastatin. When either statin was combined with EPA, there was also decreased ONOO− release compared to statin alone (p < 0.01).

      Conclusion

      In combination with high intensity statins, EPA enhanced NO bioavailability in dysfunctional human ECs. The ability of EPA to reverse vascular EC dysfunction may lead to reduced ischemic events in statin-treated patients, as evidenced in outcome trials.