Bianca Werner, Sven Dittmann, Carsten Funke, Klaus Überla, Cornelia Piper, Karsten Niehaus, Dieter Horstkotte, Martin Farr
Objective: The coxsackie and adenovirus receptor (CAR) mediates the entry of coxsackievirus B (CVB) and adenovirus into host cells and is, therefore, a key determinant for the molecular pathogenesis of viral diseases such as myocarditis. The aim was to investigate the influence of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor lovastatin on CAR expression in endothelial cells.
Methods: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were exposed to different concentrations of lovastatin (0.05–5 μmol/l) for up to 48 h. Alterations in CAR expression were examined by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and flow cytometry. In addition, after treatment with 1 μmol/l lovastatin for 48 h, HUVECs were infected for 8 h with CVB3 and virus replication was detected by qRT-PCR using viral-specific TaqMan probes.
Results: We found that lovastatin decreases CAR mRNA expression by up to 80 % (p < 0.01) and CAR protein expression by up to 19 % (p < 0.01), in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, virus replication of CVB3 was significantly inhibited after lovastatin treatment (p < 0.05). The signaling mechanism of CAR down-regulation by lovastatin depends on the Rac1/Cdc42 pathway.
Conclusion: This study shows for the first time that lovastatin reduces the expression of CAR and subsequently the replication of CVB3 in HUVECs.