The inhibitors of HMG CoA reductase (statins) are widely used as cholesterol-lowering drugs with excellent safety records in hypercholesterolemic patients. Statins exert pleiotropic effects on a variety of cells, and they were recently described as a new class of immune modulators. Depending on their structure, dose, and route of administration, statins regulate the function of both the antigen-presenting cells and T-cells by HMG CoA reductase-dependent and independent mechanisms. Herein, we describe these mechanisms leading to prevention, amelioration, and reversal of autoimmune diseases. We also present data from our laboratories showing for the first time that in a double transgenic mouse model for autoimmune diabetes, atorvastatin (lipitor) prevented the onset of disease when administered in the neonatal period, and stabilized the glucose levels when administered in mice developing a mild form of diabetes.
- T cells
- Type 1 diabetes