Prevention of cardiac hypertrophy by atorvastatin in a transgenic rabbit model of human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Vinitha Senthil, Suet N. Chen, Natalie Tsybouleva, Tripti Halder, Sherif Nagueh, James T. Willerson, Robert Roberts, A. J. Marian

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137 Scopus citations


Cardiac hypertrophy, a major determinant of morbidity and mortality in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), is considered a secondary phenotype and potentially preventable. To test this hypothesis, we screened 30 5- to 6-month-old β-myosin heavy chain Q403 transgenic rabbits by echocardiography and selected 26 without cardiac hypertrophy. We randomized the transgenic rabbits to treatment with atorvastatin (2.5 mg/Kg/d), known to block hypertrophic signaling or a placebo. We included 15 nontransgenic rabbits as controls. Cardiac phenotype was analyzed serially before, 6 and 12 months after randomization. Serum total cholesterol levels were reduced by 49% with atorvastatin administration. Left-ventricular mass, wall thickness; myocyte size, myocardial levels of molecular markers of hypertrophy, lipid peroxides, and oxidized mitochondrial DNA; and the number of terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL)-positive myocytes were increased significantly in the placebo but not in the atorvastatin group. Myocardium catalase mRNA levels were decreased by 5-fold in the placebo but were normal in the atorvastatin group. Catalase protein level and activity were not significantly changed. Levels of membrane-bound Ras and phospho-p44/42 mitogen-activated-protein kinase (MAPK) were increased in the placebo group (≈2.5 fold) but were reduced in the atorvastatin group. Levels of GTP- and membrane-bound RhoA and Rac1, phospho-p38, and phospho-c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases were unchanged. Thus, atorvastatin prevented development of cardiac hypertrophy; determined at organ, cellular, and molecular levels, partly through reducing active Ras and p44/42 MAPK. The results indicate potential beneficial effects of atorvastatin in prevention of cardiac hypertrophy, a major determinant of morbidity in all forms of cardiovascular diseases, and beckon clinical studies in humans with HCM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 5 2005


  • Gene expression
  • Genetics
  • Hypertrophy
  • Prevention
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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