Simvastatin promotes Th2-type responses through the induction of the chitinase family member Ym1 in dendritic cells

Meenakshi Arora, Li Chen, Melissa Paglia, Iain Gallagher, Judith E Allen, Yatin M Vyas, Anuradha Ray, Prabir Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statins, best known for their lipid-lowering actions, also possess immunomodulatory properties. Recent studies have shown a Th2-biasing effect of statins, although the underlying mechanism has not been identified. In this study, we investigated whether simvastatin can exercise a Th2-promoting effect through modulation of function of dendritic cells (DCs) without direct interaction with CD4+ T cells. Exposure of DCs to simvastatin induced the differentiation of a distinct subset of DCs characterized by a high expression of B220. These simvastatin-conditioned DCs up-regulated GATA-3 expression and down-regulated T-bet expression in cocultured CD4+ T cells in the absence of additional simvastatin added to the coculture. The Th2-biased transcription factor profile induced by simvastatin-treated DCs also was accompanied by increased Th2 (IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13) and decreased Th1 (IFN-gamma) cytokine secretion from the T cells. The Th2-promoting effect of simvastatin was found to depend on the chitinase family member Ym1, known to be a lectin. Anti-Ym1 antibody abolished the Th2-promoting effect of simvastatin-treated DCs. Also, simvastatin was unable to augment Ym1 expression in DCs developed from STAT6-/- or IL-4R alpha-/- mice. Thus, modulation of Ym1 production by DCs identifies a previously undescribed mechanism of Th2 polarization by statin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7777-82
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD45
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Shape
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Dendritic Cells
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Lectins
  • Lymphocyte Subsets
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor
  • Simvastatin
  • Th1 Cells
  • Th2 Cells
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases


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