Trial suggests statin may affect markers associated with progression of HIV

Feb 16, 2011

A recent multicenter clinical trial of atorvastatin, a type of cholesterol-lowering drug, found that although the drug did not inhibit plasma HIV RNA levels, it did inhibit expression of cellular markers of immune activation and inflammation in patients with HIV infection. Since immune activation and inflammation are associated with progression of HIV infection, the implication is that the statin may inhibit disease progression and help in the infection's management. The findings are in a study, available online, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The investigators, led by Anuradha Ganesan, MD, of the National Naval Medical Center and the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., randomized 22 HIV-1-infected patients not on antiretroviral therapy and with lower than those requiring in a double-blind protocol of high-dose drug or placebo for eight weeks. After a four-to-six-week washout phase, each group was switched to the other treatment for another eight weeks.

The primary objective was to study the effect of atorvastatin on plasma HIV-1 RNA levels, as previous studies had shown conflicting results. The effect on cellular markers of immune activation was a secondary objective. HIV-1 RNA levels were not significantly affected by the drug, but levels of such immune activation markers as CD38 and HLA-DR on CD4 and were reduced.

The researchers noted that their findings with atorvastatin suggest that understanding the mechanism by which statins affect immune markers may identify new approaches for the management of . They point out, however, that their trial was not designed to demonstrate clinical benefits, for which larger studies of longer duration are needed.

In an accompanying editorial, Andrew Carr, MD, of St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Australia, agreed, noting that "a very large study would probably be required to determine whether potentially positive effects of statin therapy on inflammatory biomarkers will translate into less HIV disease progression."

Explore further: Animal study provides first evidence that gel can prevent multiple virus transmission in vagina/rectum

More information: "High Dose Atorvastatin Decreases Cellular Markers of Immune Activation without Affecting HIV-1 RNA Levels: Results of a Double-Blind Randomized Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial" jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/01/31/infdis.jiq115.full

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exhausted B cells hamper immune response to HIV

Jul 14, 2008

Recent studies have shown that HIV causes a vigorous and prolonged immune response that eventually leads to the exhaustion of key immune system cells--CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells--that target HIV. These tired cells become less ...

HIV measurement is questioned

Sep 27, 2006

Preliminary U.S. research indicates the HIV RNA level in untreated HIV-infected patients has little value in predicting the rate of CD4 cell count decrease.

Pregnancy may slow -- not accelerate -- progression to AIDS

Sep 19, 2007

A new study may help put to rest fears that pregnancy accelerates progression to full-blown AIDS in women with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy. The study, published in the October 1st issue of the Journal of Infectious ...

Many with HIV start care too late

May 28, 2010

Despite growing evidence that the earlier people are diagnosed with HIV and get access to care, the better their clinical outcomes, many HIV-infected people in the United States and Canada are not receiving the care they ...

Recommended for you

HIV+ women respond well to HPV vaccine

Apr 16, 2014

HIV-positive women respond well to a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), even when their immune system is struggling, according to newly published results of an international clinical trial. The study's findings ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.