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Clinical and experimental rheumatology

Influence of simvastatin on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide by activated human chondrocytes.


PMID 17888208

Abstract

In addition to their cholesterol-lowering action, statins have been suggested to exert anti-inflammatory activities. In this study we evaluate whether simvastatin could influence the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8) and nitric oxide (NO) by activated human chondrocytes. Human isolated chondrocytes and cartilage explants were pre-incubated with simvastatin (0.5, 5, 10 and 50 micromol/L) for 48 h. Then the cultures were stimulated with a mixture of IL-1Beta and TNF-alpha (10 ng/mL) and co-incubated with simvastatin for an additional 48 h. A flow cytometric microsphere-based immunoassay was performed to detect cytokine secretion in the supernatants. NO production was quantified using the Griess assay. Simvastatin demonstrated significant dose-dependent inhibition of IL-6 and IL-8 production of isolated chondrocytes and cartilage explants up to 99% for IL-6 and up to 88% for IL-8 (p < 0.01). At the higher concentrations simvastatin decreased NO production by both isolated chondrocytes (up to 43%, p < 0.01) and cartilage explants (up to 30%, p < 0.01). This study demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties of simvastatin in chondrocytes in vitro, suggesting a potential cartilage-protective role for statins in arthritis.