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