Especially the statins fluvastatin and pravastatin induce apoptosis in synovial cells of patients who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The team led by Takao Nagashima of Jichi Medical School in Tochigi pointed out that fluvastatin induced apoptosis in synoviocytes from patients with RA, but “not in those from patients with osteoarthropathy, suggesting that the apoptotic effect of fluvastatin is a mechanism for suppression of inflammatory arthritis such as RA by statins”, the authors said.

The researchers explained that the in vitro concentrations they used of the statins were much higher than amounts that would normally be prescribed to patients. Although they note that it is possible that in the human body relatively low, but sustained, blood levels of statins would exert an effect similar to that seen in vitro with higher concentrations and short incubation times. They acknowledge that the therapeutic effect of fluvastatins in patients remains to be determined.

“The induction of apoptosis in RA synovial cells by fluvastatin and the biologic antiatherosclerotic properties of the statins suggest that they may turn out to be ideal therapeutic agents in RA”, the authors summed up. “Based on these results, we propose that the statins warrant clinical trials as potential modifiers of RA.”

MEDICA.de; Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.