Recent studies suggest that 3-hydroxy-3 methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, statins, can have direct effects on blood vessels beyond their cholesterol-lowering effects. We investigated the effects of atorvastatin on the functional and structural properties of blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the activity of astrocytes during the N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) hypertension followed by angiotensin (ANG) II. We found that decreases in concentration of serum catalase and plasma nitric oxide (NO) induced by L-NAME were significantly ameliorated by atorvastatin, whereas L-NAME-induced serum malondialdehyde and cholesterol concentration increases were significantly reduced by atorvastatin. The content of Evans blue (EB) dye significantly increased in cerebellum, left cerebral cortex and diencephalon regions but atorvastatin markedly reduced the increased BBB permeability to EB in the brain regions of animals treated with L-NAME and L-NAME plus ANG II. Brain vessels of L-NAME-treated animals showed a considerable loss of immunoreactivity of tight junction proteins, zonula occludens (ZO)-1 and occludin. Immunoreactivity for ZO-1 and occludin increased in animals treated with atorvastatin and L-NAME plus atorvastatin. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoreactivity was seen in few astrocytes in the brain sections of L-NAME, but immunoreactivity for GFAP increased in L-NAME plus atorvastatin-treated animals. We suggest that long-term L-NAME treatment may affect BBB permeability through disruption of tight junction proteins, at least partly, via decreased NO concentration and increased oxidant capacity; the improvement of BBB integrity and astrocytic activity would be more closely associated with the action of atorvastatin favoring the increase in anti-oxidant capacity and expression of tight junction proteins and GFAP.
"In the context of these findings, the statins were comparable, or in some instances more effective than the commonly utilised COX inhibitor, ibuprofen. Similar findings on BBB protection in other models were reported for atorvastatin in a hypertensive rat model
. They demonstrated that disturbance in BBB permeability improvement with atorvastatin were associated with abundance of cerebrovascular tight junction proteins; zonula occludens and occludin; plasma nitric oxide concentration and anti-oxidant homeostasis. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Several studies have identified use of non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs and statins for prevention of dementia, but their efficacy in slowing progression is not well understood. Cerebrovascular disturbances are common pathological feature of Alzheimer’s disease. We previously reported chronic ingestion of saturated fatty acids (SFA) compromises blood–brain barrier (BBB) integrity resulting in cerebral extravasation of plasma proteins and inflammation. However, the SFA-induced parenchymal accumulation of plasma proteins could be prevented by co-administration of some cholesterol lowering agents. Restoration of BBB dysfunction is clinically relevant, so the purpose of this study was to explore lipid-lowering agents could reverse BBB disturbances induced by chronic ingestion of SFA’s.
Wild-type mice were fed an SFA diet for 12 weeks to induce BBB dysfunction, and then randomised to receive atorvastatin, pravastatin or ibuprofen in combination with the SFA-rich diet for 2 or 8 weeks. Abundance of plasma-derived immunoglobulin-G (IgG) and amyloid-β enriched apolipoprotein (apo)-B lipoproteins within brain parenchyme were quantified utilising immunofluorescence microscopy.
Atorvastatin treatment for 2 and 8 weeks restored BBB integrity, indicated by a substantial reduction of IgG and apo B, particularly within the hippocampus. Pravastatin, a water-soluble statin was less effective than atorvastatin (lipid-soluble). Statin effects were independent of changes in plasma lipid homeostasis. Ibuprofen, a lipid-soluble cyclooxygenase inhibitor attenuated cerebral accumulation of IgG and apo B as effectively as atorvastatin. Our findings are consistent with the drug effects being independent of plasma lipid homeostasis.
Our findings suggest that BBB dysfunction induced by chronic ingestion of SFA is reversible with timely introduction and sustained treatment with agents that suppress inflammation.
Lipids in Health and Disease 09/2012; 11(1):117. DOI:10.1186/1476-511X-11-117 · 2.22 Impact Factor
"Atorvastatin attenuated the Aβ-induced changes as it did the age-related changes, and this replicates some of our earlier findings . The modulatory effects of atorvastatin on microglial activation may provide some insight into why epidemiological evidence suggests that statins reduce the incidence of AD; one possibility is that its primary effect is on correcting any compromise in BBB permeability  and consequently prevents infiltration of NK cells, that lead to subsequent microglial activation and inflammatory changes. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microglial function is modulated by several factors reflecting the numerous receptors expressed on the cell surface, however endogenous factors which contribute to the age-related increase in microglial activation remain largely unknown. One possible factor which may contribute is interferon-γ (IFNγ). IFNγ has been shown to increase in the aged brain and potently activates microglia, although its endogenous cell source in the brain remains unidentified.
Male Wistar rats were used to assess the effect of age and amyloid-β (Aβ) on NK cell infiltration into the brain. The effect of the anti-inflammatory compound, atorvastatin was also assessed under these conditions. We measured cytokine and chemokine (IFNγ, IL-2, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and IFNγ-induced protein 10 kDa (IP-10)), expression in the brain by appropriate methods. We also looked at NK cell markers, CD161, NKp30 and NKp46 using flow cytometry and western blot.
Natural killer (NK) cells are a major source of IFNγ in the periphery and here we report the presence of CD161+ NKp30+ cells and expression of CD161 and NKp46 in the brain of aged and Aβ-treated rats. Furthermore, we demonstrate that isolated CD161+ cells respond to interleukin-2 (IL-2) by releasing IFNγ. Atorvastatin, the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, attenuates the increase in CD161 and NKp46 observed in hippocampus of aged and Aβ-treated rats. This was paralleled by a decrease in IFNγ, markers of microglial activation and the chemokines, MCP-1 and IP-10 which are chemotactic for NK cells.
We propose that NK cells contribute to the age-related and Aβ-induced neuroinflammatory changes and demonstrate that these changes can be modulated by atorvastatin treatment.
Journal of Neuroinflammation 03/2011; 8(1):27. DOI:10.1186/1742-2094-8-27 · 5.41 Impact Factor
"Besides its anticonvulsant effects, LEV also exerts neuroprotective effects in animal models of chronic epilepsy (Hanon and Klitgaard, 2001; Marini et al., 2004; Gibbs et al., 2006). It is well known that increased BBB permeability is associated with enhanced oxidant capacity (Kalayci et al., 2005; Yu et al., 2008). In the light of these literature data, it seems reasonable to argue that the neuroprotective effect of LEV may directly lead to an increase in antioxidant capacity of the endothelial cells in the BBB, although we did not measure the capacity of oxidant and antioxidant status in our experimental settings. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigates the effects of levetiracetam (LEV) on the functional and structural properties of blood-brain barrier (BBB) in pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-kindled rats with cortical dysplasia (CD). Pregnant rats were exposed to 145 cGy of gamma-irradiation on embryonic day 17. In offsprings, kindling was induced by giving subconvulsive doses of PTZ three times per week for 45 days. While all kindled rats with CD died during epileptic seizures evoked by the administration of a convulsive dose of PTZ in 15 to 25 min, one week LEV (80 mg/kg) pretreatment decreased the mortality to 38% in the same setting. LEV caused a remarkable decrease (p<0.01) in extravasation of sodium fluorescein dye into the brain tissue of kindled animals with CD treated with convulsive dose of PTZ. Occludin immunoreactivity and expression remained essentially unchanged in all groups. Immunoreactivity for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was observed to be slightly increased by acute convulsive challenge in kindled rats with CD while LEV pretreatment led to GFAP immunoreactivity comparable to that of controls. An increased c-fos immunoreactivity in kindled rats with CD exposed to convulsive PTZ challenge was also observed with LEV pretreatment. Tight junctions were ultrastructurally intact, whereas LEV decreased the increased pinocytotic activity in brain endothelium of kindled rats with CD treated with convulsive dose of PTZ. The present study showed that LEV decreased the increased BBB permeability considerably by diminishing vesicular transport in epileptic seizures induced by convulsive PTZ challenge in kindled animals with CD.
Brain research 05/2009; 1281:71-83. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.05.033 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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