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Inhibitory effect of the combination therapy of simvastatin and pinocembrin on atherosclerosis in apoE-deficient mice

Hui Sang12, Na Yuan2, Shutong Yao12, Furong Li3, Jiafu Wang12, Yongqi Fang12* and Shucun Qin1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Atherosclerosis, Key Laboratory of Atherosclerosis in Universities of Shandong, Taishan Medical University, Taian, 271000, China

2 College of Basic Medical Sciences, Taishan Medical University, Taian, 271000, China

3 School of Pharmacy, Taishan Medical University, Taian, 271000, China

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2012, 11:166  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-166

Published: 5 December 2012


The present study was performed to investigate the effects of the combination therapy of pinocembrin and simvastatin on the atherosclerotic lesions development in the ApoE−/− mice.


Eight-week-old male ApoE−/− mice were fed high fat diet (HFD) and treated with simvastatin (10 mg/kg per day), pinocembrin (20 mg/kg per day), or the combination therapy (simvastatin 5 mg/kg per day and pinocembrin 20 mg/kg per day) for 14 weeks. The serum lipid levels, nitric oxide (NO), endothelin (ET), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and malondialdehyde (MDA) were determined with spectrophotometric measurement and ELISA assay. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in serum and aortic root was detected. En face analyses of atherosclerotic lesion in whole aorta and aortic root sections were performed with plaque staining using oil red O.


The combination treatment with simvastatin and pinocembrin resulted in significantly decreased levels of serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, augmented NO levels and SOD activity, inhibited ET and VEGF expression. Immunohistochemistry of aortic valve sections revealed that the combination therapy also suppressed the expression of VEGF induced by HFD. In addition, HFD-induced arterial wall lipid disposition displayed by oil red O staining was reduced significantly in aortic root and whole aorta en face in the combination administrated mice. The effect of the combination was superior to simvastatin alone.


The combination of simvastatin and pinocembrin synergistically inhibited atherosclerotic lesion development in ApoE−/− mice with hyperlipidemia, which is partially dependent on the protective of vascular endothelium.

Pinocembrin; Simvastatin; Combined therapy; Atherosclerotic lesion; Apolipoprotein E knockout mice