This study was published in Cellular Immunology 2003 May;223(1):52-62
Study title and authors:
Lovastatin inhibits bone marrow-derived dendritic cell maturation and upregulates proinflammatory cytokine production.
Sun D, Fernandes G.
Department of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA.
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12914758
In a laboratory setting, this study investigated the effects of lovastatin on the maturation and functional changes of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. (Dendritic cells act as messengers between the innate and the adaptive immune systems).
The study found:
(a) Lovastatin inhibited the maturation of dendritic cells in a dose-dependent manner.
(b) Lovastatin up-regulated dendritic cells pro-inflammatory cytokine production. (A proinflammatory cytokine is a cytokine (a small protein involved in cell signalling) which promotes systemic inflammation. Due to their proinflammatory action, they tend to make a disease worse by producing fever, inflammation, tissue destruction, and, in some cases, even shock and death).
(c) When mevalonate was added, these adverse effects were prevented. (Mevalonate is inhibited by statins).
Sun concludes: "These results indicate that lovastatin may inhibit bone marrow-derived dendritic cells maturation and up-regulate cytokine production through a mevalonate dependent pathway, and may cause adverse effects on either innate or adaptive immunity".