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Immunol Res. 2013 Jul;56(2-3):348-57. doi: 10.1007/s12026-013-8409-8.

Statins and autoimmunity.

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Department of Rheumatology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA.


Statins have immunomodulatory effects. Hence, they could be advantageous for different reasons. First, statins can serve as adjunct therapy in autoimmune diseases. Second, they may play a role in the prevention of accelerated atherosclerosis in the same population. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of immune regulation by statins and review the literature for their benefit in many autoimmune diseases. In these studies, statins lead to an improvement in the disease activity scores in rheumatoid arthritis patients; a reduction in prothrombotic factors in anti-phospholipid syndrome patients; changes in vasculature, proteinuria, and cardiac events in systemic lupus erythematosus patients; changes in vasculature and proteinuria in patients with vasculitis; disease activity scores in ankylosing spondylitis; and finally vascular changes in patients with systemic sclerosis. Hence, these studies suggest that statins could be used as adjuncts to standard therapy due to their anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and anti-thrombogenic effects. More evidence-based research is required to determine whether statin regimens will become the standard of care in patients with autoimmune diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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