Lovastatin prevents cisplatin-induced activation of pro-apoptotic DNA damage response (DDR) of renal tubular epithelial cells

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2016 Feb 1;292:103-14. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2015.12.023. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


The platinating agent cisplatin (CisPt) is commonly used in the therapy of various types of solid tumors. The anticancer efficacy of CisPt largely depends on the formation of bivalent DNA intrastrand crosslinks, which stimulate mechanisms of the DNA damage response (DDR), thereby triggering checkpoint activation, gene expression and cell death. The clinically most relevant adverse effect associated with CisPt treatment is nephrotoxicity that results from damage to renal tubular epithelial cells. Here, we addressed the question whether the HMG-CoA-reductase inhibitor lovastatin affects the DDR of renal cells by employing rat renal proximal tubular epithelial (NRK-52E) cells as in vitro model. The data show that lovastatin has extensive inhibitory effects on CisPt-stimulated DDR of NRK-52E cells as reflected on the levels of phosphorylated ATM, Chk1, Chk2, p53 and Kap1. Mitigation of CisPt-induced DDR by lovastatin was independent of the formation of DNA damage as demonstrated by (i) the analysis of Pt-(GpG) intrastrand crosslink formation by Southwestern blot analyses and (ii) the generation of DNA strand breaks as analyzed on the level of nuclear γH2AX foci and employing the alkaline comet assay. Lovastatin protected NRK-52E cells from the cytotoxicity of high CisPt doses as shown by measuring cell viability, cellular impedance and flow cytometry-based analyses of cell death. Importantly, the statin also reduced the level of kidney DNA damage and apoptosis triggered by CisPt treatment of mice. The data show that the lipid-lowering drug lovastatin extensively counteracts pro-apoptotic signal mechanisms of the DDR of tubular epithelial cells following CisPt injury.

Keywords: Cisplatin; DNA damage response; Lovastatin; Nephrotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cisplatin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cisplatin / toxicity*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules / drug effects*
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism
  • Lovastatin / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Rats


  • Lovastatin
  • Cisplatin