Are Statins a Risk Factor in Patients with Atherosclerosis?

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Andrejic Visnjic Bojana; Samardzija Golub; Bosanac Milana; Pantic Teodora; Kolarov-Bjelobrk Ivana; Radic Jelena; Jelena Ilic Sabo; Jelena Amidzic & Gvozdenovic Nemanja


Statins inhibit cholesterol synthesis, but also have other pleiotropic effects. There are indications that they affect macrophage survival trough the regulation of apoptosis. We analyzed 50 samples of aortic wall, selected based on statins in patients’ therapy (n=25, Th-S group) or statin-free therapy (n=25, Th-nonS group). Each group had 5 samples of healthy aortic tissue, 10 samples of mild and 10 samples of severe atherosclerotic changes in aortic wall. Tissue was stained with hematoxylin-eosin and immunohistochemical methods (anti-Bcl-2 antibody). Presence of Bcl2-positive macrophages (Bcl-2+ MP) was determined semiquantitatively, and data were processed in Microsoft Excell and IMB SPSS 23 Statistics. 60 % of patients in the Th-S group had a mild increase of Bcl-2+ MP The use of statins leads to a significantly more frequent increase in Bcl2+ macrophages in the intima of the healthy aortic tissue. Analysis of all aortic samples with pathohistological diagnosis showed that statin therapy was statistically significantly more often leading to a markedly increased presence of Bcl-2+ MP. In the media, all samples of the Th-S group have a mild increase of Bcl-2+ MP, and in adventitia 40 % of patients. The use of statins more often leads to a markedly increased presence of Bcl-2+ MP in aortic tissue with diagnosed mild and severe atherosclerosis. In samples of severe atherosclerosis, statins lead to a markedly increased presence of Bcl-2+ MP in the parts of the plaque towards the intima and towards the media. Statins lead to an increased presence of Bcl-2+ macrophages, prolong their life, both in healthy and atherosclerotic altered aortic tissue. This indicates potentiation of inflammation and damage to the aortic wall, and calls into question the positive effect of statins on the aortic wall with atherosclerosis.

KEY WORDS: Statins; BCL-2; Apoptosis; Atherosclerosis; Macrophages.

How to cite this article

DREJIC VISNJIC B.; SAMARDZIJA, G.; BOSANAC, M.; PANTIC, T.; KOLAROV-BJELOBRK, I.; RADIC, J.; ILIC SABO, J.; AMIDZIC, J. & GVOZDENOVIC, N. Are statins a risk factor in patients with atherosclerosis? Int. J. Morphol 40(5):1236-1241, 2022.