Statin drugs appear to reduce inflammation associated with Alzheimer disease (AD) in a cholesterol-independent manner, say researchers from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. Gary Landreth, professor of neurosciences and neurology, and colleague Andrew Cordle found that statins hinder microglial inflammation by decreasing isoprenyl intermediates in the cholesterol pathway. According to their findings, statins' anti-inflammatory effects are independent of cholesterol levels. Statins suppress neuronal inflammation by reducing the ability of β-amyloid fibrils to activate microglia. Statins inhibit the addition of an isoprenyl tail that activates microglial G proteins such as RhoA, Rac, and Cdc42.

In the early 1990s scientists first recognized the anti-inflammatory effects of statins in cardiovascular disease, and only recently in AD. Today, with most AD studies done in vitro, expectations that these effects will occur in humans is somewhat controversial, says Todd Golde, associate professor of neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, NY. "Epidemiologic data [are] strong, but...

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