Statins are currently among the most commonly prescribed agents for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Statins reduce serum cholesterol levels by reversibly inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3- methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis, in the nanomolar range. Mounting evidence suggests that in addition to their vascular effects such as stabilization of atherosclerotic plaques and decreased carotid intimal-medial thickness, statins have additional properties such as endothelial protection via actions on the nitric oxide synthase system as well as antioxidant, antiinflammatory and anti-platelet effects. These effects of statins might have potential therapeutic implications in various neurological disorders such as stroke, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis and primary brain tumors. In this review, the major protective mechanisms of statins and their applicability to the treatment of neurological disease are summarized. Although further experiments are required, currently available data would seem to indicate that clinical trials to determine the safety and efficacy of statins in a number of disorders are warranted.
Keywords: Statin, cholesterol, inflammation, nitric oxide synthase, stroke, alzheimer's disease, parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis
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