Tissue-specific effects of statins on the expression of heme oxygenase-1 in vivo

Mark Hsu, Lucie Muchova, Ichiro Morioka, Ronald J. Wong, Henning Schröder, David K. Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) plays a central role in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, which may be mediated through its formation of biliverdin/bilirubin and carbon monoxide. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) induce in vitro HO-1 expression and are reported to have pleiotropic benefits that reduce oxidative stress in the vasculature. We characterized the effects of statins on in vivo HO-1 expression in various extravascular tissues: liver, lung, brain, and heart. Adult mice were orally administered simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, or rosuvastatin. HO activity significantly increased in a statin- and tissue-specific manner, with all statins increasing heart and lung activity within 24 h. Significant elevations of HO-1 protein and mRNA were also observed in heart and lung after atorvastatin treatment. We conclude that in vivo HO-1 induction is statin- and tissue-specific. Through this pathway, statins may confer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in the vasculature and extravascular systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-744
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 12 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant #HD58013, the Mary L. Johnson Research Fund, and the Christopher Hess Research Fund.


  • Antioxidants
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Imaging
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins


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