The effects of statins on lung injury and fibrogenesis were also examined in a study in mice, which were pretreated with pravastatin prior to intratracheal bleomycin administration. Statin use was found to exacerbate bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. In a further in vitro study, statin pretreatment was shown to enhance Nlrp3-inflammasome activation through mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation in macrophages. "These results implicate activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in fibrotic lung disease," said Jin-Fu Xu MD, and Augustine M. K. Choi, MD, of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, in Shanghai, China and the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, respectively.
There were some limitations to both studies. Findings in the mouse model were not replicated in human samples. All study subjects were current or former smokers, perhaps limiting the applicability of the results to others. Cigarette smoking by itself may lead to pulmonary inflammation. Finally, the duration and dosage of statin therapy was not available for the majority of patients.
"While statin use was associated with ILA in our study, caution should be used when extrapolating these findings to the care of patients," concluded Dr. Hunninghake. "The significant benefits of statin therapy in patients with cardiovascular disease probably outweigh the risk of developing ILA, and statin use may benefit some patients with respiratory disease. Clinicians should be aware, though, that radiological evidence of ILD can develop in some patients treated with statins."
|Contact: Nathaniel Dunford|
American Thoracic Society