Low-level endotoxin induces potent inflammatory activation of human blood vessels: inhibition by statins.
BACKGROUND: Low-level endotoxemia (ie, >or=50 pg/mL) in apparently healthy subjects was recently identified as a powerful, independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. METHODS AND RESULTS: We treated human saphenous veins (HSVs) with low levels of endotoxin. Release of the proinflammatory chemokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) was measured by ELISA. Superoxide was determined by using the fluorescent probe dihydroethidium (HE), and monocyte binding was assessed with calcein-labeled U-937 cells. Three- to 4-fold increases in MCP-1 and IL-8 release were observed at endotoxin concentrations of 100 pg/mL; these increases were inhibited by the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor atorvastatin. Studies in cultured endothelial cells suggest that the mechanism is related to inhibition of isoprenylation (ie, geranylgeranylation) rather than cholesterol formation. Endotoxin produced dose-dependent increases in HE fluorescence that were inhibited by the superoxide dismutase mimics Tiron and MnTBAP. Endotoxin potently induced U-937 cell binding to HSV; binding was inhibited by both Tiron and atorvastatin. Toll-like receptor-4 expression was detected in cultured HSV endothelial and smooth muscle cells and in intact HSV. CONCLUSIONS: Clinically relevant levels of endotoxin, as reported in ambulatory populations, have profound inflammatory effects on intact HSV. Inhibition of endotoxin-induced vascular inflammation might contribute to the beneficial effects of statins in treating atherosclerosis.
Rice, JB; Stoll, LL; Li, W-G; Denning, GM; Weydert, J; Charipar, E; Richenbacher, WE; Miller, FJ; Weintraub, NL
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