Objective: We hypothesized that pretreatment with atorvastatin improves alveolar capillary permeability and hemodynamics and, thus, confers protection against lung injury caused by high-stretch mechanical ventilation.
Methods: Twenty-four isolated sets of normal rabbit lungs were utilized. Treated animals received atorvastatin (20 mg/kg body weight/day by mouth) for 3 days before surgery. Lungs were perfused constantly (300 mL/min) and ventilated for 1 hr with pressure-control ventilation at either 23 (high pressure; resulting in tidal volume approximately 22 mL/kg) or 11 (low pressure; tidal volume approximately 10 mL/kg) cm H2O peak inspiratory pressure and positive end-expiratory pressure of 3 cm H2O. Four groups were examined: high pressure-no statin, high pressure-statin pretreatment, low pressure-no statin, and low pressure-statin pretreatment.
Results: The high-pressure-no statin group sustained more damage than the low-pressure groups. In high-pressure groups, lungs of statin-pretreated vs. no statin-pretreated animals sustained a significantly lower increase in ultrafiltration coefficient (an accurate marker of alveolar capillary permeability; high-pressure-statin pretreatment vs. high-pressure-no statin, -0.013 +/- 0.017 g/min/mm Hg/100g vs. 1.723 +/- 0.495 g/min/mm Hg/100g; p < .001), lower weight gain (i.e., less edema formation; 4.62 +/- 1.50 grams vs. 17.75 +/- 4.71 grams; p = .005), improved hemodynamics (i.e., lower increase in mean pulmonary artery pressure; 0.56 +/- 0.51 mm Hg vs. 5.62 +/- 1.52 mm Hg; p = .04), lower protein concentration in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (p < .001), and fewer histologic lesions (p = .013). Apoptosis of lung parenchyma cells was not different (p = .97). There was no difference between low-pressure-statin pretreatment and low-pressure-no statin groups regarding these outcomes.
Conclusion: In this model, atorvastatin improves alveolar capillary permeability and hemodynamics and, thus, attenuates lung injury caused by high-stretch mechanical ventilation.