Effect of lovastatin on small GTP binding proteins and on TGF-beta1 and fibronectin expression

Kidney Int Suppl. 2000 Sep;77:S88-92. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2000.07714.x.


We have shown that lovastatin, an inhibitor of 3 hydroxy-3-methylglutary coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase, delays development and progression of diabetic nephropathy in streptozotocine-induced diabetic rats through suppression of glomerular transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 mRNA expression. We have also shown that lovastatin suppresses both control and high glucose (HG)-induced TGF-beta1 and fibronectin mRNA expression and protein synthesis by rat mesangial cell (RMC) and that this down-regulation by lovastatin is reversed by mevalonate. It was postulated that this down-regulation may be linked to signaling of small guanine triphosphate (GTP)-binding proteins and mediated by the limitation of isoprenoids such as farnesylpyrophosphate (FPP) and geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (GGPP) in RMC. To determine the isoprenoid and small GTP-binding proteins involved in TGF-beta1 and fibronectin expression. FPP or GGPP was added alone or in combination to RMC treated with lovastatin cultured under normal or high glucose condition. Suppression of TGF-beta1 and fibronectin expression by lovastatin was reversed effectively when GGPP was added alone. Partial reversal of lovastatin effect on fibronectin and TGF-beta1 expression was found when FPP was added alone. Adding both GGPP and FPP resulted in complete reversal of lovastatin effect on fibronectin but not TGF-beta1 suggesting that fibronectin and TGF-beta1 are regulated differently. Furthermore, luciferase activity of RMC cotransfected with fibronectin promoter reporter system and plasmid-expressing C3 exoenzyme (a specific inactivator of Rho family GTP binding proteins, pEFC3) was completely suppressed when compared with RMC cotransfected with empty vector, pEF. Because geranylgeranylation is usually involved in post-translational modification and membrane targeting of Rho family small GTP binding proteins, these data indicate that Rho family small GTP-binding proteins rather than Ras family small GTP binding proteins may play a key role in the TGF-beta1 and fibronectin expression in RMC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fibronectins / biosynthesis*
  • Glomerular Mesangium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Lovastatin / pharmacology*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Rats
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Fibronectins
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Lovastatin
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins