Statins, the most widely used lipid lowering drugs, have been demonstrated to play a protective role in stroke. Animal studies confirmed the observations obtained in clinical trials and provided additional data on the putative mechanism/s of action underlying this beneficial effect. We have shown that simvastatin reduced the size of the infarct to a different extend, according to the animal model used. Indeed, in the rat neonatal model of hypoxia/ischemia simvastatin affords protection only when is administered before the ischemic insult. In contrast, in adult rats bearing middle cerebral artery occlusion, simvastatin exerted its beneficial effect on brain injury when injected for 3 days either before or after induction of ischemia. Studies carried out to determine the therapeutic window of simvastatin demonstrated that the protective effect is observed after a single dose and when the drug is administered within 3-6 hours after ischemia. Simvastatin-dependent activation of eNOS has been claimed to be one of the main mechanisms responsible for neuroprotection. This hypothesis is confirmed in the adult animal model where eNOS is activated by either pre- or post- simvastatin treatment but is not supported by the data obtained in the neonate where eNOS activity is not affected by drug treatment. These observations suggest that the protective effect of simvastatin on stroke may be mediated by multiple mechanisms as can be expected by its pleiotropic effects.
- Animal models
- Cerebral ischemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience