Anti-inflammatory effects of atorvastatin treatment in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A controlled pilot study.

R. M. Mroz, P. Lisowski, A. Tycinska, J. Bierla, P.Z. Trzeciak, L. Minarowski, R. Milewski, A. Lisowska, P. Boros, B. Sobkowicz, A.M. Duszewska, E. Chyczewska, W.J. Musial, William MacNee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Observational studies have suggested that statins may have beneficial effects on outcomes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. These effects may be mediated through an anti-inflammatory effect of statins. The purpose of this pilot-study was to determine whether statins have an anti-inflammatory effect on the lungs of COPD patients. We conducted randomized, controlled, parallel group pilot-study to compare the effects of atorvastatin (n=12) or placebo (n=6) on lung inflammation in patients with mild to moderate COPD. The primary endpoint was change in CD45+ cells expression measured by immunohistochemistry and changes in expression of genes measured using microarrays in lung biopsy (TBB) samples before and after 12 weeks of treatment with atorvastatin 40 mg/day. All subjects had spirometry, lung volumes, diffusing capacity of the lungsfor carbon monoxide (DLCO), St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), 6 minute walk distance (6MWD), serum lipids, hs-CRP, induced sputum (IS), bronchoscopy and TBB carried out at baseline and after treatment. TBB specimens were processed for histology, immunohistochemistry and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) profiling. Seventeen subjects completed the study. There was a significant improvement in SGRQ with mean SGRQ decreased by 12 points after treatment with atorvastatin (P=0.012). Atorvastatin treatment produced a significant 34% reduction in sputum neutrophil count, and a 57% reduction in CD45+ cells in lung biopsies (expressed as integrated optical density -IOD; median IOD 62.51% before, 27.01% after atorvastatin treatment, P=0.008). In patients’ lung tissue atorvastatin treatment produced downregulation of key genes involved in inflammatory processes, immune response, and leukocyte activation. These data demonstrate the pulmonary anti-inflammatory effects of atorvastatin in COPD patients with the potential for beneficial clinical effects. Trial registration: NCT01748279.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


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