BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Statins, a major component of the prevention of cardiovascular disease, aid progenitor cell functions in vivo and in vitro. Statins bearing a NO-releasing moiety were developed for their enhanced anti-inflammatory/anti-thrombotic properties. Here, we investigated if the NO-donating atorvastatin (NCX 547) improved the functions of circulating angiogenic cells (CACs). EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) were prepared from peripheral blood monocytes of healthy volunteers and type-2 diabetic patients and were cultured in low (LG) or high glucose (HG) conditions, in presence of atorvastatin or NCX 547 (both at 0.1 μM) or vehicle. Functional assays (outgrowth, proliferation, viability, senescence and apoptosis) were performed in presence of the endothelial NOS inhibitor L-NIO, the NO scavenger c-PTIO or vehicle. KEY RESULTS Culturing in HG conditions lowered NO in CACs, inhibited outgrowth, proliferation, viability and migration, and induced cell senescence and apoptosis. NCX 547 fully restored NO levels and functions of HG-cultured CACs, while atorvastatin prevented only apoptosis in CACs. The activity of Akt, a pro-survival kinase, was increased by atorvastatin in LG-cultured but not in HG-cultured CACs, whereas NCX 547 increased Akt activity in both conditions. L-NIO partially blunted and c-PTIO prevented NCX 547-induced improvements in CAC functions. Finally, NCX 547 improved outgrowth and migration of CACs prepared from patients with type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS NCX 547 was more effective than atorvastatin in preserving functions of CACs. This property adds to the spectrum of favourable actions that would make NO-releasing statins more effective agents for treating cardiovascular disease.
- circulating angiogenic cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas