If you take simvastatin to control cholesterol, watch out for infection says new report

March 1, 2010

Simvastatin might help us control our cholesterol, but when it comes to infection, it's an entirely different story says a new research study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. In the research report, scientists from Italy show that simvastatin delivers a one-two punch to the immune system. First it impairs the ability of specialized immune cells, called macrophages, to kill pathogens. Then, it enhances production of molecules, called cytokines, which trigger and sustain inflammation.

"Statins are key drugs in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease," said Cosima T. Baldari, Ph.D., a scientist from the Department of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Siena in Siena, Italy, who was involved in the research. "Our understanding of how these drugs affect the immune system should help maximize the benefits of these excellent drugs."

To make this discovery, the researchers conducted experiments using human cells and then followed up by conducting additional experiments in mice. They used human macrophages derived from blood samples of healthy donors and murine (mouse) macrophages. The macrophages were incubated with Staphlococcus aureus, a pathogen commonly found on the skin and in the upper airways. Once the infection manifested, researchers analyzed the bactericidal response of macrophages treated with simvastatin.

Results showed that the treated were significantly impaired in both the removal of the pathogen and related cell debris and the killing of ingested bacteria compared to untreated cells. Additionally, the treated cells produced higher amounts of cytokines, which are responsible for triggering and sustaining inflammation. The same experiment was conducted in vivo, using mouse models, with similar results.

"Statins are lifesavers, but there might be room for improvement," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the . "Studies like this help pave the way for researchers to develop newer versions of drugs like that are more specific for their intended effect increasing the benefits of these pharmaceuticals."

More information: http://www.jleukbio.org.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Engineered protein treatment found to reduce obesity in mice, rats and primates

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. report that an engineered version of a protein naturally found in the body caused test mice, rats and cynomolgus monkeys to lose weight. In their ...

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Cancer drug found to offer promising results in treating sepsis in test mice

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A combined team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that a drug commonly used to treat lung cancer in humans offers a degree of protection against sepsis in test mice. In their paper published ...

Tracing cell death pathway points to drug targets for brain damage, kidney injury, asthma

October 19, 2017
University of Pittsburgh scientists are unlocking the complexities of a recently discovered cell death process that plays a key role in health and disease, and new findings link their discovery to asthma, kidney injury and ...

Study reveals key molecular link in major cell growth pathway

October 19, 2017
A team of scientists led by Whitehead Institute has uncovered a surprising molecular link that connects how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available the nutrients required for growth. Their work, which ...

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster

October 18, 2017
Scars may fade, but the skin remembers. New research from The Rockefeller University reveals that wounds or other harmful, inflammation-provoking experiences impart long-lasting memories to stem cells residing in the skin, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2010
May this explains why there is no improvement in overall mortality for long term statin takers.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.