The hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is characterized by hypoxia and increased intrapulmonary shunts in cirrhotic patients. Emerging evidence showed promising results of treating HPS by abolishment of intrapulmonary inflammation and angiogenesis. Rosuvastatin is a kind of 3-hydroxy-methyl-3-glutamyl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor. In addition to lipid-lowering effects, it has anti-inflammation and anti-angiogenesis properties. We postulated that rosuvastatin treatment can ameliorate HPS. Common bile duct ligation (CBDL) was applied in an experimental HPS animal model. CBDL rats received 2-week rosuvastatin (20 mg/kg/day) treatments from the fifteenth day after operation. The haemodynamic data, blood gas analysis, liver biochemistries, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were examined after rosuvastatin treatment. The liver and lung tissues were dissected for histopathological studies and protein analyses. In the parallel groups, intrapulmonary shunts were determined. The haemodynamic and liver biochemistries were not changed after rosuvastatin treatment in CBDL rats, but the alveolar-arterial oxygen pressure gradient was significantly decreased, implying that HPS-induced hypoxia was reversed after rosuvastatin treatment. In addition, rosuvastatin treatment reduced intrapulmonary shunts and plasma levels of VEGF and TNF-α. Besides, the intrapulmonary protein expression of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1,2 and Rho-associated A kinase were significantly down-regulated and the intrapulmonary angiogenesis was ameliorated. We concluded that rosuvastatin alleviates experimental HPS through blockade of pulmonary inflammatory angiogenesis via TNF-α/NF-κB and VEGF/Rho-associated A kinase pathways down-regulation.

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