Pediatric research

Simvastatin attenuates oleic acid-induced oxidative stress through CREB-dependent induction of heme oxygenase-1 in renal proximal tubule cells.

PMID 26492285


Statins elicit antioxidant effects independently of their lipid-lowering properties. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) induction may be a part of these pleiotropic effects, which are insufficiently described in the kidney. We hypothesize that simvastatin (SIM) transcriptionally activates HO-1 that protects renal proximal tubule cells from lipotoxic injury. Impact of SIM on 100 μmol/l oleic acid (OA)-mediated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and consequent oxidative stress (4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) content) as well as cell injury/apoptosis (lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, caspase-3 activation) were determined in cultured renal proximal tubule (NRK52E) cells. Effect of SIM on the HO-1 promoter and its enhancer elements (antioxidant response element (ARE), CCAAT, AP1, and cAMP response element (CRE)) was also determined in reporter luciferase assays. Dominant-negative (dnMEK, M1CREB) and pharmacologic (H89) approaches were used to inhibit activation of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK), CREB, and protein kinase A (PKA), respectively. SIM dose-dependently activated the HO-1 promoter that was essential for protection against OA-dependent ROS production/oxidative stress and LDH release/caspase-3 activation. We found that the HO-1 promoter was induced through ERK and PKA-dependent activation of the CRE by SIM. SIM may protect the kidney from adverse effects of circulating fatty acids by upregulating the antioxidant HO-1, aside from its well-described lipid-lowering effects.