Protective effect of policosanol on endothelium and intimal thickness induced by forceps in rabbits.
J Lipid Res. 2010 Jun;51(6):1416-23. Epub 2010 Jan 13. PMID: 17887938
Policosanol is a cholesterol-lowering drug isolated from sugar cane wax with concomitant antiplatelet effects that prevents lipofundin-induced atherosclerotic lesions in rabbits and rats, including foam cell formation, and also reduces foam cell formation in carrageenan-induced granulomas in rats, while it inhibits proliferation of smooth muscle cells induced in rabbit cuffed artery. This study was undertaken to determine whether policosanol prevents endothelium damage and increase in arterial wall thickness in rabbits with arterial walls damaged with a forceps. Artery forceps were placed over the central artery of the right ear of all rabbits, and each artery was injured eight times. Animals were randomly distributed into four groups: a positive control group treated with Tween 20/H2O vehicle, two groups treated with policosanol (5 and 25 mg/kg, respectively), and a group treated with aspirin (8 mg/kg). Treatments were given for 30 days. Damaged arteries were examined by light and electron (transmission and scanning) microscopy. To evaluate intimal thickening, areas of intima were measured, and a significant reduction in policosanol-treated animals was observed. The endothelial surface, studied with scanning electron microscopy, revealed several types of damage. In control group, the endothelial surface was severely damaged. De-endothelialized areas were reduced in policosanol-treated animals. Platelet adhesion to subendothelium was seen in all animals of the control group, whereas policosanol-treated groups exhibited significantly reduced platelet adhesion. Policosanol also reduced, dose-dependently, the platelet sequestration induced in the damaged vessel wall, partially preventing the reduction in platelet count. It is concluded that policosanol prevents endothelium injury and reduces significantly intimal thickness of rabbit arteries damaged with forceps.