Since most patients with diabetes die from some vascular complication, Medical College of Georgia researchers set out to determine the effects of simvastatin on endothelial cell dysfunction, an early pivotal event in atherogenesis and a major cause of the microvascular complications in diabetics. The researchers found that in addition to lowering cholesterol levels, simvastatin also appeared to prevent or reverse vascular injury by vasoprotective means. In a well-established rat model of diabetes, simvastatin protected against the development of diabetes-induced endothelial cell dysfunction in vessels of the heart, kidney, and eye.
Dr. Guochuan Ma, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Robert W. Caldwell, presented the promising results on April 2 at Experimental Biology 2005, in San Diego, at the scientific sessions of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Endothelial cells make up the inner lining of blood vessels. The stimulation of intact endothelial cells by neurotransmitters, hormones and other substances causes release of a substance that induces relaxation of the underlying vascular smooth muscle. Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by an imbalance between these vasodilators and vasoconstrictors and appears early in diabetes.
The researchers induced diabetes in r
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Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology