Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 59, Issue 11, pp 1771–1786

Statins: the new aspirin?

  • N. R. Veillard
  • F. Mach

DOI: 10.1007/PL00012505

Cite this article as:
Veillard, N. & Mach, F. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2002) 59: 1771. doi:10.1007/PL00012505

Abstract.

3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, or statins, have been described as the principal and the most effective class of drug to reduce serum cholesterol levels. Statin therapies have been shown to reduce cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and death, significantly, by altering vascular atherosclerosis development in patients with or without coronary artery disease symptoms. Extensive use of statins has led to the increase of some undesirable effects that are heavily counterbalanced by the benefits. Indeed, pleiotropic effects extend far beyond cholesterol reduction and involve non-lipid-related mechanisms that modify endothelial functions, immunoinflammatory responses, smooth muscle cell activation, proliferation and migration, atherosclerotic plaque stability, and thrombus formation. In this review, we describe in detail the targets and mechanisms of action of statins.

Key words. Statin; atherosclerosis; inflammation; cholesterol; pleiotropic effect.

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. R. Veillard
    • 1
  • F. Mach
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Geneva, Foundation for Medical Research, 64 Avenue Roseraie, 1211 Geneva 4 (Switzerland), Fax + 41 22 382 7245, e-mail: Francois.Mach@medecine.unige.chCH