Ticagrelor and Rosuvastatin Have Additive Cardioprotective Effects via Adenosine

Yochai Birnbaum, Gilad D. Birnbaum, Itamar Birnbaum, Sven Nylander, Yumei Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Ticagrelor inhibits the equilibrative-nucleoside-transporter-1 and thereby, adenosine cell re-uptake. Ticagrelor limits infarct size (IS) in non-diabetic rats and the effect is adenosine-dependent. Statins, via ecto-5′-nucleotidase activation, also increase adenosine levels and limit IS. Hypothesis: Ticagrelor and rosuvastatin have additive effects on myocardial adenosine levels, and therefore, on IS and post-reperfusion activation of the NLRP3-inflammasome. Methods: Diabetic ZDF rats received via oral gavage; water (control), ticagrelor (150 mg/kg/d), prasugrel (7.5 mg/kg/d), rosuvastatin (5 mg/kg/d), ticagrelor + rosuvastatin and prasugrel + rosuvastatin for 3d. On day 4, rats underwent 30 min coronary artery occlusion and 24 h of reperfusion. Two additional groups received, ticagrelor + rosuvastatin or water in combination with CGS15943 (CGS, an adenosine receptor antagonist, 10 mg/kg i.p. 1 h before ischemia). Results: Both ticagrelor and rosuvastatin increased myocardial adenosine levels with an additive effect of the combination whereas prasugrel had no effect. Similarly, both ticagrelor and rosuvastatin significantly reduced IS with an additive effect of the combination whereas prasugrel had no effect. The effect on IS was adenosine dependent as CGS15943 reversed the effect of ticagrelor + rosuvastatin. The ischemia-reperfusion injury increased myocardial mRNA levels of NLRP3, ASC, IL-1β and IL-6. Ticagrelor and rosuvastatin, but not prasugrel, significantly decreased these pro-inflammatory mediators with a trend to an additive effect of the combination. The combination also increased the levels of anti-inflammatory 15-epilipoxin A4. Conclusions: Ticagrelor and rosuvastatin when given in combination have an additive effect on local myocardial adenosine levels in the setting of ischemia reperfusion. This translates into an additive cardioprotective effect mediated by adenosine-induced effects including downregulation of pro- but upregulation of anti-inflammatory mediators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-550
Number of pages12
JournalCardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Adenosine
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Infarct size
  • Ischemia-reperfusion
  • Statin
  • Ticagrelor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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