Pleiotropic effects of statins: The role of eicosanoid production

Yochai Birnbaum, Yumei Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) have potent anti-inflammatory, vasodilatory and anti-platelet effects that are independent of the lipid-lowering effects. These non-lipid-lowering or pleiotropic effects are dependent on HMG-CoA reductase inhibition in tissues other than the liver. In animal models, high-dose statins upregulate cytosolic phospholipase A 2 and cyclooxygenase-2, leading to increased production of prostacyclin and 15-deoxy-PGJ 2. In addition, statins activate protein kinase A, which phosphorylates 5-lipoxygenase, resulting in decreased production of the pro-inflammatory leukotrienes and increased production of 15-epi-lipoxin A4, an eicosanoid with potent anti-inflammatory and inflammation-resolution properties. It is unclear, however, whether these effects occur in the clinical setting and whether these effects (partially) explain the anti-inflammatory effects of statins in patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-139
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Atherosclerosis Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-lipooxygenase
  • Arachidonic acid
  • Aspirin
  • Cyclooxygenase-2
  • Eicosanoids
  • Inflammation
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Pleiotropic effects
  • Prostacyclin
  • Protein kinase A (PKA)
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Pleiotropic effects of statins: The role of eicosanoid production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this