Statins: Epidrugs with effects on endothelial health?

Nooshin Mohammadzadeh, Fabrizio Montecucco, Federico Carbone, Suowen Xu, Khalid Al-Rasadi, Amirhossein Sahebkar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Epigenetic events involving the methylation of CpG cites in DNA, histone modifications and noncoding RNAs correlated with many essential processes in human cells and diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins)—the LDL cholesterol-lowering drugs—are broadly used in cardio- and cerebro-vascular diseases. It is well established that statins exert pleiotropic functions, but how they exert effects on epigenetic modifications independently of HMG-CoA reductase inhibition is not yet clear. Thereby, understanding these mechanisms may pave the way for further clinical application of statin therapy. Design: Following and electronic database search, studies reporting substantial effects of statins on epigenetic reprogramming in both cultured cells and in vivo models were retrieved and reviewed. Results: Epigenetic mechanisms play an essential role in cellular development and function, and data collected in the past few years have revealed that many of the pleiotropic properties of statins are mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. Furthermore, those ‘nonclassical’ effects are not limited to CV field but they would extend to other conditions such as malignancies. Conclusion: This review suggests that the epigenetic effects of statins mediate, at least in part, the pleiotropic actions of these drugs but further validation of such effects in clinical studies is yet to be provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13388
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • cardiovascular diseases
  • epigenetics
  • statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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