Antioxidant effects of statins in the management of cardiometabolic disorders

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2014;21(10):997-1010. doi: 10.5551/jat.24398. Epub 2014 Aug 15.


Redox systems are key players in vascular health. A shift in redox homeostasis-that results in an imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and endogenous antioxidant defenses has the potential to create a state of oxidative stress that subsequently plays a role in the pathogenesis of a number of diseases, including those of the cardiovascular and metabolic system. Statins, which are primarily used to reduce the concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, have also been shown to reduce oxidative stress by modulating redox systems. Studies conducted both in vitro and in vivo support the role of oxidative stress in the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Oxidative stress may also be responsible for various diabetic complications and the development of fatty liver. Statins reduce oxidative stress by blocking the generation of ROS and reducing the NAD+/NADH ratio. These drugs also have effects on nitric oxide synthase, lipid peroxidation and the adiponectin levels. It is possible that the antioxidant properties of statins contribute to their protective cardiovascular effects, independent of the lipid-lowering actions of these agents. However, possible adverse effects of statins on glucose homeostasis may be related to the redox system. Therefore, studies investigating the modulation of redox signaling by statins are warranted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Heart Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Antioxidants
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors