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Atheroscler Suppl. 2006 Apr;7(1):31-5. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Statins: potential new indications in inflammatory conditions.

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Mitte, Schumannstrasse 20/21, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.


Hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) are potent cholesterol-lowering drugs. In addition to their cholesterol-lowering properties, statins exert a number of so-called 'pleiotropic', vasculoprotective actions that include improvement of endothelial function, increased nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, antioxidant properties, stabilisation of atherosclerotic plaques, regulation of progenitor cells, inhibition of inflammatory responses and immunomodulatory actions. Pleiotropic actions of statins may have potential clinical impact in vascular disease beyond cholesterol lowering. The ongoing Justification for the Use of statins in Primary prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin (JUPITER), for example, tests the effects of statins in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease among patients with low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). Additionally, previous studies have shown that although cholesterol is not an established stroke risk factor, statin therapy is associated with a reduction in the incidence of strokes. It is known that sudden withdrawal of statin treatment may acutely impair vascular function and increase morbidity and mortality in patients with vascular disease. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effects of statins may have clinical impact in a number of non-vascular conditions including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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