Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Watch out for infection if taking cholesterol drug simvastatin
"New research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests that simvastatin negatively impacts the immune system's ability to clear infection and control inflammation in the presence of bacteria. 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.'"