Potential therapeutic role for statins in respiratory disease

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Statins reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase and have an established role in the treatment of atherosclerotic disease. Recent research has identified anti-inflammatory properties of statins. Statins appear to reduce the stability of lipid raft formation with subsequent effects on immune activation and regulation, and also prevent the prenylation of signalling molecules with subsequent downregulation of gene expression. Both these effects result in reduced cytokine, chemokine, and adhesion molecule expression, with effects on cell apoptosis or proliferation. This review considers the evidence for the anti-inflammatory properties of statins in the lung, and how these effects are being applied to research into the role of statins as a novel treatment of respiratory diseases.

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