Anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombogenic effects of atorvastatin in acute ischemic stroke
BACKGROUND Treatment with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) reduces the morbidity and mortality of coronary artery disease (CAD). In addition to their lipid-lowering actions, pleiotropic effects of statins have been demonstrated. OBJECTIVE The aim of the present study was to assess if atorvastatin therapy has an impact on haemostasis, fibrinolysis and inflammation in normocholesterolaemic patients with CAD. METHODS Fifty-four patients with CAD who had received atorvastatin treatment for at least 8 weeks (mean dosage 30 mg/day) and 54 patients with CAD who had not received atorvastatin therapy were selected from a larger prospective, randomized, double-blind study for inclusion in this post hoc analysis. Patients were matched by their total cholesterol levels. All patients were normocholesterolaemic. RESULTS In the atorvastatin-treated patients significantly lower plasma levels of thrombin-antithrombin complexes (p < 0.05), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity (PAI-1) [p < 0.05], soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (p < 0.05), soluble platelet selectin (p < 0.05) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (p < 0.05) were measured compared with patients not on atorvastatin therapy. Additionally, a strong trend towards lower soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 plasma levels was detected in patients treated with atorvastatin. No differences were found in tissue-type plasminogen activator antigen, plasmin-plasmin inhibitor complexes, fibrinogen, D-dimer and activated factor XII values. CONCLUSION Atorvastatin appears to have an effect on coagulation activation, fibrinolysis and inflammation in patients with CAD. Reduction in PAI-1 and reduced thrombin formation may have an impact on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with CAD.