Short-term pravastatin mediates growth inhibition and apoptosis, independently of Ras, via the signaling proteins p27(Kip1) and PI3 kinase

Robert H Weiss, Al Ramirez, Adriane Joo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Growth factor-stimulated DNA synthesis in a variety of cell lines has been shown to be decreased after overnight (or longer) treatment with the 3- hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase inhibitors, the statins. Although this anti-mitogenic effect had been presumed to be the result of the impairment of Ras lipidation, a stable modification (T 1/2 approximately 20 h), this study provides new data demonstrating that brief (approximately 1 h) pretreatment of rat vascular smooth muscle cells with 100 μM pravastatin before platelet- derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) stimulation results in attenuation of DNA synthesis through a Ras-independent mechanism. PDGF-BB-stimulated PDGF-β receptor tyrosine phosphorylation, Ras activity, and mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase activity are unaffected by from 10 min to 1 h of pravastatin incubation, while Raf activity is markedly increased after 1 h of pravastatin. Phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase activity and phosphorylation of its downstream effector Akt are decreased after 1 h pravastatin incubation. Rho is stabilized by pravastatin, and ADP- ribosylation of Rho by C3 exoenzyme decreases PDGF-stimulated phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase activity, mimicking the effect of pravastatin on this signaling protein. Levels of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(Kip1) are increased when cells were preincubated with pravastatin for 1 h and then exposed to PDGF, and apoptosis is induced by pravastatin incubation times as short as 1 to 4 h. Thus, short-term, high-dose pravastatin inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell growth and induces apoptosis independently of Ras, likely by means of the drug's effect on p27(Kip1), mediated by Rho and/or phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase. This work demonstrates for the first time that the statins may be therapeutically useful when applied for short periods of time such that potential toxicity of long-term statin use (such as chronic Ras inhibition) may be avoided, suggesting future therapeutic directions for statin research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1880-1890
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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