Neuroprotective Effects of Low-Dose Statins in the Retinal Ultrastructure of Hypercholesterolemic Rabbits



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Fernández Navarro, Judith and Aldea Mansilla, Pilar and Hoz Montañana, María Rosa de and Salazar Corral, Juan José and Ramírez Sebastián, Ana Isabel and Rojas López, Blanca and Gallego Collado, Beatriz Isabel and Triviño Casado, Alberto and Tejerina Sánchez, Teresa and Ramirez Sebastian, Jose Manuel (2016) Neuroprotective Effects of Low-Dose Statins in the Retinal Ultrastructure of Hypercholesterolemic Rabbits. PLoS ONE, 11 (5). e0154800. ISSN 1932-6203

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To evaluate the pleiotropic effects to statins, we analyze the qualitative and quantitative retinal changes in hypercholesterolemic rabbits after a low-dosage statin treatment. For this purpose, New Zealand rabbits were split into three groups: control (G0; n = 10), fed a standard diet; hypercholesterolemic (G1; n = 8), fed a 0.5% cholesterol-enriched diet for 8 months; and statins (G2; n = 8), fed a 0.5% cholesterol-enriched diet for 8 months, together with the administration of statin (pravastatin or fluvastatin sodium) at a dose of 2 mg / kg / day each diet. The retinas were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry (glial fibrillary acidic protein). The retinal thickness of nuclear and plexiform layers were quantified in semi-thin sections. The results revealed that the low-statin-treated rabbits in comparison with the hypercholesterolemic group showed: i) a more preserved structure in all retinal layers; ii) a significant reduction in retinal thickness; iii) a decrease in cell death in the nuclear-and ganglion-cell layers; iv) a reduction of hydropic degeneration in the plexiform and nerve-fiber layers; v) a preservation of astrocytes and of the retinal area occupied by them; and vi) a better-preserved retinal vascular structure. Our findings indicate that low doses of statins can prevent retinal degeneration, acting on retinal macroglia, neurons and retinal vessels, despite that hypercholesterolemia remained unchanged. Thus, the pleiotropic effects of the statins may help safeguard the retinal ultrastructure.

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© 2016 Fernández-Navarro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Received: November 16, 2015; Accepted: April 19, 2016; Published: May 4, 2016

Uncontrolled Keywords:Neuroscience; Statins; Retina; Hypercholesterolemia; Rabbits
Subjects:Medical sciences > Medicine > Ophtalmology
Medical sciences > Optics > Eyes anatomy
Medical sciences > Pharmacy > Drugs
ID Code:45188
Deposited On:27 Oct 2017 10:58
Last Modified:30 Oct 2017 12:17

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