Objective To explore the mechanism of atorvastatin's protection on vascular endothelial cells, we conducted the research of impact of atorvastatin on vascular endothelial cells autophagy in different times.
Methods We used the Hank's to replace the normal medium to induce autophagy of vascular endothelial cells. In pre-inducement and induction procedure, the cells were incubated with normal medium which includes atorvastatin or not and Hank's, respectively. Experimental cells were randomly divided into four groups: control group (Group I), the group of pre-inducement with atorvastatin (Group II), the group of inducement with atorvastatin (Group III) and the group of pre-inducement and inducement both with atorvastatin (Group IV). Transmission electron microscope (TEM) was used to detect autophagy. The RT-PCR was employed to detect the autophagy-specific markers' (Beclin 1 and Map1lc3) expression in each group of cells.
Results Compared with the group I, target genes (Beclin 1 and Map1lc3) of the group III and the group IV had a significant decreased expression (p<0.01). The expression of the group II were all lower than the group I (p>0.05). The group IV was better than the group III (p>0.05). Via TEM detection, the cells showed typical morphological change. There into, the proportions of preautophagosome to the total area of cytoplasm in group III and group IV are remarkably decreased than that of group I, and the difference was significant (p<0.01). The proportions of group II is lower than that of group I, but not significant (p>0.05). The proportions of group IV is lower than that of group III, but there was no obvious difference between two groups (p>0.05).
Conclusion Using atorvastatin, in induction procedure, can inhibit vascular endothelial cells autophagy, which may be related to the role of atorvastatin's improvement on endothelial function. However, using atorvastatin, prior to the occurrence of induced autophagy, can not quite inhibit the occurrence of autophagy.