Assessing Statins for Alzheimer Disease: Conflicting Evidence
By Kenneth J. Bender, PharmD, MA |
February 1, 2007
In his assessment of the pleiotropic effects of statins, Crisby11 emphasizes that inflammation in the CNS is an early hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. Crisby points out that apoE is involved in the clearance of cholesterol-laden neurodegenerative products following brain injury and that apoE isoforms have been found to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.10
Wolozin and colleagues5 note their own recently reported evidence of such effects in a small postmortem comparative study. Brain sections of one group of 10 patients with AD who had not received statins were compared with those of a group of 6 who had received the medication for at least a year. Wolozin and coauthors found a “striking” reduction in microglial activation in the statin-treated patients.
“These results are consistent with prior reports indicating that statins reduce inflammation and dampen the immune response in vivo,” they declare.5
Although acknowledging that the benefit and mechanism of action of the statins for AD remain to be elucidated, Kivipelto and colleagues3 indicate that multifaceted therapeutic strategies are appropriate for diseases with complex etiologies. In their view, targeting cholesterol in treatment or prevention of AD remains an appropriate strategy. “Even if the mechanisms involved are not fully known to us at the present,” they conclude, “it seems that minding heart health may protect the brain as well.”
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