Researchers at the IRCCS Centro Neurolesi “Bonino-Pulejo” and the University of Messina in Italy have performed a review on the immunomodulatory activity reported for statins in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and on clinical trial results, reports Multiple Sclerosis News Today.
The study, Role Of Statins In The Treatment Of Multiple Sclerosis, was published in the journal Pharmacological Research.
Statins have been shown to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, making them an attractive therapeutic option for immune-mediated disorders such as MS.
Previous studies conducted in vitro and in animal models showed evidence that statins also have potential neuroprotective properties, although the mechanism behind it is poorly understood. Based on these three properties— immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective — they have now been tested in clinical trials as a therapy for MS, either alone or in combination with interferon-beta. Unfortunately, the translation of the results obtained in animal models with statins yielded conflicting results in human clinical trials.
Researchers found some clinical trial studies indicated oral statins were only partially effective as a monotherapy in the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS. When tested in combination with interferon-beta, some studies found an increase in clinical disease activity, relapses and new lesions in the brain. Other studies, however, have reported the combination therapy of statin and interferon-beta had no effect on relapse rate, neither on the development of brain lesions in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Yet, other studies found statins offer clinical benefits in comparison with interferon-beta treatment alone, namely in the number of relapses and lesions in MS patients.
The research team concluded that the therapeutic combination of statins plus interferon-beta is apparently well-tolerated and safe but could not find decisive proof that statins and interferon-beta improves relapsing remitting MS outcomes in comparison to treatment with interferon-beta only.
The research team suggests further large, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials should be conducted to assess and provide definitive proof of whether statins are effective, either as monotherapy or combined with interferon-beta, as a treatment for MS.
Source: Multiple Sclerosis News Today © BioNews Services 2015 (02/04/15)