Topical simvastatin promotes healing of Staphylococcus aureus-contaminated cutaneous wounds

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Abstract

Cutaneous wounds are prompt to be contaminated by bacteria, but the clinical benefits of applying antibiotics and antiseptics in wound management have not been proven. Statins are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors commonly used to lower cholesterol levels. Studies indicated that statins, especially simvastatin, promote wound healing in experimental models. As Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most important microorganism responsible for wound infections, the aims of this study were to characterise the anti-staphylococcal activity of simvastatin and to evaluate the application of simvastatin as a topical therapy for S. aureus-contaminated wounds. In the present study, simvastatin was bacteriostatic against S. aureus at sub-inhibitory concentrations up to 8 hours after exposure. Further increased concentrations of simvastatin above the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) did not enhance the growth inhibitory effect. By contrast, the ability of simvastatin to inhibit S. aureus biofilm formation was concentration dependent. Topical application of simvastatin at its MIC against S. aureus accelerated the healing and bacterial clearance of S. aureus-contaminated wounds in an excisional mice wound model. This effective concentration is well below the safe concentration for topical use. Collectively, topical application of simvastatin has the potential as a novel modality for managing wound infections and promoting wound healing.

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