Statins possess anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties beyond their cholesterol-lowering effects. To determine whether short-term atorvastatin treatment affects the acute phase and humoral immune responses to tetanus toxoid (TT) in normal healthy volunteers, we conducted a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Twenty healthy volunteers were assigned a 10-day treatment with atorvastatin (40 mg) or placebo. All volunteers received a TT booster on the fifth day. Subjects in the atorvastatin group had a significant reduction in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (both p<0.001). Unexpectedly, the production of anti-TT antibodies (predominately IgG1) was three-fold higher in the atorvastatin group 15 days post-vaccination (2306 +/- 468 versus 713+/-21 units, p = 0.008). Atorvastatin also suppressed the post-vaccination rise in platelet and lymphocyte counts (both p<0.05). Acute phase parameters did not change significantly in either group. This study illustrates a novel immunomodulatory effect of atorvastatin raising the possibility of using HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors to enhance humoral responses to vaccination.
Short-term atorvastatin treatment enhances specific antibody production following tetanus toxoid vaccination in healthy volunteers
Lee, P. Y., Scumpia, P. O., Byars, J. A., Kelly, K. M., Zhuang, H., Shuster, J. S., ... Brantly, M. L. (2006). Short-term atorvastatin treatment enhances specific antibody production following tetanus toxoid vaccination in healthy volunteers. Vaccine, 24(19), 4035-4040. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2005.12.042