(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- UC Davis researchers have shown that statins not only improve cholesterol levels, but also dramatically reduce disease-causing inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome -- a condition defined by symptoms that include abdominal obesity and high blood pressure.
The study, published online in the September 12 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, offers new hope to the one in four Americans with metabolic syndrome who have double the risk of developing heart disease and are five times more likely to develop diabetes.
"Changes in diet and exercise, resulting in weight loss are still the treatment of choice for preventing the consequences of metabolic syndrome," said Kenny Jialal, a professor of internal medicine at UC Davis Health System and director of the Laboratory for Atherosclerosis and Metabolic Research. "However, people don't always adhere to those changes. Our results suggest that statin may be a way to forestall the deadly complications of metabolic syndrome."
Statins are a class of drugs used to prevent and treat heart disease. They work by lowering cholesterol levels and preventing atherosclerosis, the blockage of blood vessels due to plaque build-up. Previously, Jialal's group showed that statins, as a class of drugs, are anti-inflammatory. Since the metabolic syndrome, is characterized by low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance, they decided to look at the direct effect of statins on inflammation in these patients.
The UC Davis team conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study in which they gave a standard daily dose of a statin (Simvastatin or placebo) to 50 patients with metabolic syndrome. After eight weeks, they measured cholesterol levels, as well as biomarkers of inflammation in the circulation, but more importantly, in cells pivotal in all stages of plaque formation, the monocytes. They found, as expected, that statin lowered lo
Contact: Carole Gan
University of California, Davis - Health System