The potential therapeutic role of statins in central nervous system autoimmune disorders

O. Stüve, S. Youssef, S. Dunn, A. J. Slavin, L. Steinman, S. S. Zamvil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


3-Hydroxy-3-methyglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, 'statins' are widely used oral cholesterol-lowering drugs. Statins competitively inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes conversion of HMG-CoA to L-mevalonate, a key intermediate in cholesterol synthesis. Certain metabolites of mevalonate are also involved in posttranslational modification of specific proteins involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. Thus, statins have important biologic effects that may be independent of their cholesterol-reducing properties. Recent studies indicate that statins have antiinflammatory and neuroprotective properties which may be beneficial in the treatment of multiple sclerosis as well as other central nervous system (CNS) neurodegenerative diseases. This article will outline current experimental evidence that may suggest potential clinical benefits for patients with CNS autoimmune disorders. Ultimately, clinical trials will have to determine the safety and efficacy of statins in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2483-2491
Number of pages9
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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