Simvastatin suppresses LPS-induced MMP-1 expression in U937 mononuclear cells by inhibiting protein isoprenylation-mediated ERK activation

J Leukoc Biol. 2008 Oct;84(4):1120-9. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0108064. Epub 2008 Jul 14.


Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) plays a crucial role in periodontal disease and is up-regulated by oral Gram-negative, pathogen-derived LPS. In this study, we reported that simvastatin, a 3-hydroxyl-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitor, effectively inhibited LPS-stimulated MMP-1 as well as MMP-8 and MMP-9 expression by U937 mononuclear cells. Our studies showed that the geranylgeranyl transferase inhibitor inhibited LPS-stimulated MMP-1 expression, and addition of isoprenoid intermediate geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) reduced the inhibitory effect of simvastatin on LPS-stimulated MMP-1 expression. We also demonstrated that simvastatin inhibited the activation of Ras and Rac, and the inhibition was abolished by addition of GGPP. The above results indicate that protein isoprenylation is involved in the regulation of MMP-1 expression by LPS and simvastatin. Moreover, we showed that simvastatin inhibited LPS-stimulated nuclear AP-1, but not NF-kappaB activity, and the inhibition was reversed by addition of GGPP. Simvastatin also inhibited LPS-stimulated ERK but not p38 MAPK and JNK. Finally, we showed that the inhibition of LPS-stimulated ERK activation by simvastatin was reversed by GGPP. Taken together, this study showed that simvastatin suppresses LPS-induced MMP-1 expression in U937 mononuclear cells by targeting protein isoprenylation-mediated ERK activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Simvastatin / pharmacology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • U937 Cells


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Simvastatin
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1