gms | German Medical Science

28. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga

24. bis 27.11.2004, Hannover

Statin-induced Inhibition of Rac1- and RhoA-GTPase Activity Improves Left Ventricular Function in an Experimental Model of Diabetic Cardiomyopathy: Involvement of p38 MAPK

Statin-induzierte Inhibition von Rac1- und RhoA-GTPase-Aktivität verbessert die linksventrikuläre Funktion in einem experimentellen Modell der diabetischen Kardiopathie: Rolle von p38 MAPK?

Meeting Abstract (Hypertonie 2004)

  • presenting/speaker S. Van Linthout
  • N. Dhayat
  • F. Spillmann
  • J. Du
  • D. Westermann
  • U. Laufs
  • H.-P. Schultheiss
  • C. Tschöpe

Hypertonie 2004. 28. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga. Hannover, 24.-27.11.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc04hochP3

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: August 10, 2005

© 2005 Van Linthout et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Emerging evidence suggests that statins exert beneficial effects beyond those predicted by their cholesterol-lowering actions. We investigated if low dose atorvastatin (Ator) improves left ventricular (LV) function in an experimental model of diabetic cardiomyopathy.

Methods: DM was induced by a single injection of streptozotozin (STZ) (70 mg/kg, i.p.) in 8 weeks old Sprague Dawley (SD) rats. Diabetic rats were treated with Ator (50 mg/kg/day; per gavage) or with vehicle for 6 weeks. Age-matched non-diabetic SD rats were used as controls. LV function was analyzed by a Millar tip catheter. Expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1beta, cellular adhesion molecules (CAM)s, leukocyte infiltration and collagen content was quantified by digital image analysis and/or real-time PCR. Rac1- and RhoA-GTPase activity was determined by Rac1 GST-PAK and Rhotekin pull-down assays, respectively. p38 MAPK and phospho-p38 MAPK were quantified by Western Blot.

Results: Diabetes was associated with increased myocardial TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression and increased leukocyte infiltration. Moreover, cardiac collagen I and III expression and total cardiac collagen content was increased in STZ diabetic rats compared to non-diabetic controls. These findings correlated with impaired left ventricular function. Ator-treatment was associated with both reduced intramyocardial inflammation and myocardial fibrosis, resulting in improved LV function. This effect was associated with reduction of Rac1- and RhoA-GTPase activity to levels similar as in non-diabetic SD rats and with a 3.8-fold (p<0.05) decrease in STZ-diabetes-induced p38 MAPK activity. Dyslipidemia was not affected by Ator-treatment.

Conclusion: Inhibition of Rac1- and RhoA-GTPase activity by low dose Ator reduces intramyocardial inflammation and myocardial fibrosis, partly mediated by reduction in p38 MAPK activity, resulting in improved LV function in STZ diabetic rats.