Dual effects of statins in multiple sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive disabling disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by demyelination and neuronal injury.

Dyslipidemia is observed as one of the imperative risk factors involved in MS neuropathology.

Also, chronic inflammation in MS predisposes to the progress of dyslipidemia. Therefore, treatment of dyslipidemia in MS by statins may attenuate dyslipidemia-induced MS and avert MS-induced metabolic changes.

Statins adversely affect the cognitive function in MS by decreasing brain cholesterol CoQ10, which is necessary for the regulation of neuronal mitochondrial function. However, statins could be beneficial in MS by shifting the immune response from pro-inflammatory Th17 to an anti-inflammatory regulatory T cell (Treg). The protective effect of statins against MS is related to anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects with modulation of fibrinogen and growth factors.

In conclusion, the effects of statins on MS neuropathology seem to be conflicting, as statins seem to be protective in the acute phase of MS through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. However, statins lead to detrimental effects in the chronic phase of MS by reducing brain cholesterol and inhibiting the remyelination process.

Source: Inflammopharmacology. 2023 May 9