Effect of High Dose Statin Pretreatment on Endothelial Progenitor Cells After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (HIPOCRATES Study)

A. Eisen, D. Leshem-Lev, H. Yavin, K. Orvin, A. Mager, E. Rechavia, T. Bental, O. Dadush, A. Battler, R. Kornowski, E. I. Lev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pretreatment with high-dose statins given before percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has been shown to have beneficial effects, in particular by reducing peri-procedural myocardial infarction. The mechanism of these lipid-independent beneficial statin effects is unclear. Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have an important role in the process of vascular repair, by promoting re-endothelization following injury. We hypothesized that statins can limit the extent of endothelial injury induced by PCI and promote re-endothelization by a positive effect on EPCs. We, therefore, aimed to examine the effect of high-dose statins given prior to PCI on EPCs profile.

Methods: Included were patients, either statin naïve or treated chronically with low-dose statins, with stable or unstable angina who underwent PCI. Patients were randomized to receive either high-dose atorvastatin (80 mg the day before PCI and 40 mg 2–4 h before PCI) or low- dose statin. EPCs profile was examined before PCI and 24 h after it. Circulating EPCs levels were assessed by flow cytometry as the proportion of peripheral mononuclear cells co-expressing VEGFR-2+ CD133+ and VEGFR-2+ CD34+. The capacity of the cells to form colony forming units (CFUs) was quantified after 7 days of culture.

Results: Twenty three patients (mean age 61.4 ± 7.4 years, 87.0 % men) were included in the study, of which 12 received high-dose atorvastatin prior to PCI. The mean number of EPC-CFUs before PCI was higher in patients treated with high-dose atorvastatin vs. low-dose statins (165.8 ± 58.8 vs. 111.7 ± 38.2 CFUs/plate, respectively, p < 0.001). However, 24 h after the PCI, the number of EPC-CFUs was similar (188.0 ± 85.3 vs. 192.9 ± 66.5 CFUs/plate in patients treated with high-dose atorvastatin vs. low- dose statins, respectively, p = 0.15). There were no statistical significant differences in FACS analyses between the 2 groups.

Conclusions: The current study showed higher EPC- CFUs levels in patients treated with high-dose atorvastatin before PCI and a lower increment in EPC-CFUs after PCI. These findings could account for the beneficial effects of statins given prior to PCI, yet further investigation is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalCardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Endothelial progenitor cells
  • Hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (Statins)
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention


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