Atorvastatin-induced cardioprotection is mediated by increasing inducible nitric oxide synthase and consequent S-nitrosylation of cyclooxygenase-2

Shaul Atar, Yumei Ye, Yu Lin, Sheldon Y. Freeberg, Shawn P. Nishi, Salvatore Rosanio, Ming He Huang, Barry F. Uretsky, Jose R. Perez-Polo, Yochai Birnbaum

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132 Scopus citations


We determined the effects of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1; SC-560), COX-2 (SC-58125), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS; 1400W) inhibitors on atorvastatin (ATV)-induced myocardial protection and whether iNOS mediates the ATV-induced increases in COX-2. Sprague-Dawley rats received 10 mg ATV·kg-1·day-1 added to drinking water or water alone for 3 days and received intravenous SC-58125, SC-560, 1400W, or vehicle alone. Anesthesia was induced with ketamine and xylazine and maintained with isoflurane. Fifteen minutes after intravenous injection rats underwent 30-min myocardial ischemia followed by 4-h reperfusion [infarct size (IS) protocol], or the hearts were explanted for biochemical analysis and immunoblotting. Left ventricular weight and area at risk (AR) were comparable among groups. ATV reduced IS to 12.7% (SD 3.1) of AR, a reduction of 64% vs. 35.1% (SD 7.6) in the sham-treated group (P < 0.001). SC-58125 and 1400W attenuated the protective effect without affecting IS in the non-ATV-treated rats. ATV increased calcium-independent NOS (iNOS) [11.9 (SD 0.8) vs. 3.9 (SD 0.1) X 1,000 counts/min; P < 0.001] and COX-2 [46.7 (SD 1.1) vs. 6.5 (SD 1.4) pg/ml of 6-keto-PGF; P < 0.001] activity. Both SC-58125 and 1400W attenuated this increase. SC-58125 did not affect iNOS activity, whereas 1400W blocked iNOS activity. COX-2 was S-nitrosylated in ATV-treated but not sham-treated rats or rats pretreated with 1400W. COX-2 immunoprecipitated with iNOS but not with endothelial nitric oxide synthase. We conclude that ATV reduced IS by increasing the activity of iNOS and COX-2, iNOS is upstream to COX-2, and iNOS activates COX-2 by S-nitrosylation. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that preconditioning effects are mediated via PG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1960-H1968
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Endothelial nitric oxide synthase
  • Infarct size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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