Statin therapy prevents expansive remodeling in venous bypass grafts

Beiping Qiang, Jonathan Toma, Hiroko Fujii, Azriel B. Osherov, Nafiseh Nili, John D. Sparkes, Paul Fefer, Michelle Samuel, Jagdish Butany, Howard Leong-Poi, Bradley H. Strauss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Venous grafts (VG) have high failure rates by 10 years in aortocoronary bypass surgery. We have previously shown that expansive remodeling followed by increased LDL retention are early atherosclerotic changes in experimental VG placed in the arterial circulation. The objective of this study was to determine whether statin therapy prevents these expansive remodeling changes. Methods and results: Reversed jugular vein-to-common carotid artery interposition graft was constructed in 27 cholesterol-fed (0.5%) rabbits. Rabbits were randomized either to control or atorvastatin (5mg/kg/day) groups, starting two weeks prior to vein graft implantation and continuing until sacrifice at 1 or 12 weeks post-surgery. Ultrasound measurements of arterial luminal cross-sectional area (CSA) were done at day 3 and at 4, 8 and 12 weeks post-surgery. Histomorphometric measurements were performed following sacrifice at 12 weeks. Atorvastatin treatment significantly decreased total plasma cholesterol levels at 4, 8 and 12 weeks (12 weeks: 6.7±4.2mmol/L versus control 38.7±10.6mmol/L, p<0.0002). Atorvastatin significantly reduced expansive remodeling at 4, 8 and 12 weeks (lumen CSA: 44.6±6.6mm 2 versus control 77.6±10.7mm 2, p<0.0001). Intimal CSA by histomorphometry was also significantly reduced by atorvastatin at 12 weeks (5.59±2.19mm 2 versus control 9.57±2.43mm 2, p<0.01). VG macrophage infiltration, MMP-2 activity and metalloelastase activity were reduced in the atorvastatin treated group. Conclusion: Atorvastatin inhibits both expansive remodeling and intimal hyperplasia in arterialized VG, likely through inhibition of macrophage infiltration and reduction of tissue proteolytic activity. The mechanism proposed above may be important for preventing VG atherosclerosis and late VG failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Expansive positive remodeling
  • Intimal hyperplasia
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Saphenous vein grafts


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