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).
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.
Amarin Pharma Inc., Elucida Research LLC
© 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc.