A comparative study of policosanol vs lovastatin on intimal thickening in rabbit cuffed carotid artery.
Science. 2009 Jul 10;325(5937):201-4. PMID: 11207063
Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering drug isolated from sugar cane wax, which acts by inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis. Previous studies have demonstrated that policosanol inhibited smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation in the cuffed carotid artery of the rabbit and in arterial wall damage induced by forceps in the central artery of the ear of rabbits. The present study was undertaken to compare the effects of policosanol and lovastatin on SMC proliferation in the cuffed carotid artery of rabbits. Collars were placed around the left carotid for 7 and 15 days. The contralateral artery was sham operated. We studied eight experimental groups: two controls groups receiving vehicle for 7 and 15 days, respectively, a satellite sham operated control group, four groups treated with policosanol at 5 and 25 mg kg(-1)for 7 and 15 days and a reference group receiving lovastatin at 20 mg kg(-1)for 15 days. Samples of arteries were examined by light and electron microscopy. To evaluate intimal thickening the cross-sectional areas of intima and media were measured. Neointima was significantly reduced in treated animals compared with controls, but the reduction in lovastatin animals was significantly lower than in policosanol-treated groups. The SMC proliferation was studied by the immunohistochemical detection of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and the reduction observed in policosanol-treated rabbits was significantly larger than in lovastatin-treated animals. It is concluded that the protective effect of policosanol against neointima formation in this experimental model was slightly better than that of lovastatin.