3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors interfere with angiogenesis by inhibiting the geranylgeranylation of RhoA

Ho Jin Park, Dequan Kong, Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Ulrike Begley, Dongjiang Tang, Jonas B. Galper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Angiogenesis is implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and atherosclerosis and in the treatment of coronary artery and peripheral vascular disease. Here, cholesterol-lowering agents, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, are shown to interfere with angiogenesis. In vivo, the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor simvastatin dose-dependently inhibited capillary growth in both vascular endothelial growth factor-stimulated chick chorioallantoic membranes and basic fibroblast growth factor-stimulated mouse corneas. In vitro, the development of tubelike structures by human microvascular endothelial cells cultured on 3D collagen gels was inhibited at simvastatin concentrations similar to those found in the serum of patients on therapeutic doses of this agent. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors interfered with angiogenesis via inhibition of the geranylgeranylation and membrane localization of RhoA. Simvastatin inhibited membrane localization of RhoA with a concentration dependence similar to that for the inhibition of tube formation, whereas geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate, the substrate for the geranylgeranylation of Rho, reversed the effect of simvastatin on tube formation and on the membrane localization of RhoA. Furthermore, tube formation was inhibited by GGTI, a specific inhibitor of the geranylgeranylation of Rho; by C3 exotoxin, which inactivates Rho; and by the adenoviral expression of a dominant-negative RhoA mutant. The expression of a dominant-activating RhoA mutant reversed the effect of simvastatin on tube formation. Finally, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors inhibited signaling by vascular endothelial growth factor, Akt, and focal adhesion kinase, three RhoA-dependent pathways known to be involved in angiogenesis. This study demonstrates a new relationship between lipid metabolism and angiogenesis and an antiangiogenic effect of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors with possible important therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 26 2002


  • 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors
  • Angiogenesis
  • RhoA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology


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