The pleiotropic effects of statins on endothelial function, vascular inflammation, immunomodulation and thrombogenesis

Atherosclerosis. 2009 Apr;203(2):325-30. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.08.022. Epub 2008 Sep 2.


Statins have been demonstrated to significantly affect the prognosis and outcome of patients with risk factors to atherosclerosis (in primary and secondary prevention trials). Several clinical and recently basic studies have suggested an extra-beneficial effect of the statins in the prevention of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. These studies showed that statins may affect the cardiovascular system beyond their effect on the lipid profile, and it was suggested that they affect the immunological system and vascular inflammation. Many of the beneficial pleiotropic effects of statins occur as a result of modulated endothelial function and reduced inflammatory processes. Attempting to understand these properties of statins is an exciting field of research that will also improve our understanding of vascular biology in health and disease, and thus enable the better use of this drug class in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Coronary Artery Disease / prevention & control
  • Endothelium / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Immune System Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Inflammation*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk
  • Thrombosis


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III