Objective Statin- and exercise-therapy are both clinically beneficial by preventing cardiovascular events in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). However, there is no information on the vascular effects of the combination of statins and exercise on arterial wall stiffness in CAD patients. Methods The present study is a sub-analysis of PRESET study that determined the effects of 20-week treatment with statins (rosuvastatin, n = 14, atorvastatin, n = 14) combined with regular exercise on arterial wall stiffness assessed by measurement of brachial and ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) in CAD patients. Results The combination of statins and regular exercise significantly improved exercise capacity, lipid profile, including low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), baPWV (baseline: 1747±355, at 20 weeks of treatment: 1627±271 cm/s, p = 0.008), and basophil count (baseline: 42±32, 20 weeks: 26±15 cells/μL, p = 0.007), but had no effect on blood pressure (baseline: 125±22, 20 weeks: 121±16 mmHg). Changes in baPWV correlated significantly with changes in basophil count (r = 0.488, p = 0.008), but not with age, lipids profile, exercise capacity, or hs-CRP. Conclusion In CAD patients, the combination treatment with statins and exercise resulted in significant amelioration of arterial wall stiffness, at least in part, through reduction of circulating basophils.
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