Effects of Rosuvastatin on Nitric Oxide–Dependent Function in Aorta and Corpus Cavernosum of Diabetic Mice

Relationship to Cholesterol Biosynthesis Pathway Inhibition and Lipid Lowering

  1. Matthew R. Nangle,
  2. Mary A. Cotter and
  3. Norman E. Cameron
  1. From the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Professor N. E. Cameron, D.Phil., Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, U.K. E-mail: n.e.cameron{at}


Elevated plasma lipids contribute to neurovascular dysfunction in diabetes. Statins have lipid-lowering properties and can modulate endothelial nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. The aim was to assess the impact of these factors on autonomic nitrergic nerve and endothelial function. Thus, the effects of diabetes and treatment with the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor rosuvastatin (RSV) were examined on corpus cavernosum and aorta from streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice in a 4-week prevention study and a 2-week intervention study, following 4 weeks of untreated diabetes. Cotreatment with mevalonate was used to assess the dependence of RSV’s effects on HMG-CoA reductase blockade. Diabetes caused a 25% reduction in NO-mediated endothelium-dependent relaxation to acetylcholine for aorta and cavernosum. Relaxations of cavernosum were in the nondiabetic range following prevention or reversal treatment. The aortic deficit was completely prevented and 60% reversed by RSV. Maximum NO-dependent nonadrenergic, noncholinergic nerve-mediated relaxations of cavernosum were reduced 25–33% by diabetes. RSV treatment prevented 75% and reversed 71% of this diabetic deficit. Cotreatment with mevalonate inhibited the beneficial actions of RSV on aorta and cavernosum. Total plasma cholesterol was unaltered by diabetes or treatment. Thus, RSV corrected defective NO-mediated nerve and vascular function in diabetic mice independent of cholesterol lowering but via effects dependent on cholesterol biosynthesis pathway inhibition.


    • Accepted June 12, 2003.
    • Received April 28, 2003.
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