Mevalonate availability affects human and rat resistance vessel function

Jean Baptiste Roullet, Hong Xue, Chantai M. Roullet, William S. Fletcher, Marilyn J. Cipolla, Christian T. Harker, David A. McCarron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Previous data in rat conductance vessels indicated that cellular mevalonate contributes to vascular tone and systemic blood pressure control. Using exogenous mevalonate (M) or lovastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor (L), we characterized the role of mevalonate availability in resistance artery function, both in experimental animals and humans. Rat mesenteric artery resistance vessels (MARV, n = 9) were incubated for 48 h with either L, M, L + M, or vehicle (V) and tested for reactivity to NE, serotonin, acetylcholine, atrial natriuretic peptide, and sodium nitroprusside (SNP). Lovastatin increased sensitivity to NE (P < 0.03) and serotonin (P < 0.003), and significantly impaired the response to all three vasodilators. These effects were reversed by co-incubation with mevalonate. Mevalonate alone had no effect. In separate experiments, intravascular free Ca2+ concentration ((ivf)Ca2+) was determined in fura- 2AM loaded MARV. Basal (ivf)Ca2+ was increased after a 48-h exposure to L (52.7±4.6 nM, L, vs. 29.7±2.4 nM, V, n = 12, P < 0.003), as were (ivf)Ca2+ levels following stimulation with low (100 nM) NE concentrations. Similar (ivf)Ca2+ concentrations were achieved during maximum contraction with NE (10 mM) in both groups. Human resistance arteries of human adipose tissue were also studied. Lovastatin increased the sensitivity to NE (ED50 = 372±56 nM, V, and 99±33 nM, L, P < 0.001) and significantly decreased the relaxation to acetylcholine and SNP of human vessels. We conclude that mevalonate availability directly contribute to resistance vessel function and vascular signal transduction systems in both experimental animals and humans. The study calls for the identification of non-sterol, mevalonate-derived vasoactive metabolites, and suggests that disorders of the mevalonate pathway can alter vascular tone and cause hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
  • cholesterol
  • isoprenoids
  • lovastatin
  • vascular tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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