The impact of high-dose statin therapy on transendothelial neutrophil migration and serum cholesterol levels in healthy male volunteers

  • Aisling Kinsella
  • Adnan Raza
  • Susan Kennedy
  • Yue Fan
  • Alfred E. Wood
  • R. W. Watson
Clinical Trial



Cardiac surgery presents a risk to all major organs due to activation of the systemic inflammatory response. Patients referred for cardiac surgery are typically older, usually have comorbid conditions, and are thus at higher risk of postoperative multiorgan dysfunction. Patients demonstrating evidence of organ dysfunction require intensive postoperative management. Any means to predict and reduce the inflammatory response mounted postcardiac surgery could translate into a clinical benefit for the patient and reduce the length of stay in intensive care.


Statins are commonly used to prevent primary and secondary cardiovascular disease through their cholesterol-lowering effects. However, they have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce postoperative mortality and morbidity for patients undergoing cardiac surgery. The purpose of this study was to analyze the in vivo effects of high-dose atorvastatin (statin) on ex vivo neutrophil migration in healthy volunteers.


Thirteen healthy male volunteers consented and were placed on high-dose (40 mg) statin therapy for 2 weeks. At week 0 and week 2, full blood count, liver function, serum cholesterol and creatine kinase were assessed, as was neutrophil migration.


Neutrophil migration of healthy volunteers was significantly reduced after 2 weeks of high-dose statin therapy (p = 0.002), as was serum cholesterol (p <0.001). There was no change in liver function during statin treatment.


Statins have an established role as cholesterol-lowering agents, and this study demonstrates that they also potentially have an anti-inflammatory effect in healthy male volunteers.


Systemic inflammatory response syndrome Neutrophil migration Statin therapy Cardiothoracic surgery Therapeutic intervention 



2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid


Adult respiratory distress syndrome


Creatine kinase


Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium


Full blood count


Fetal calf serum




High-density lipoprotein


Human pulmonary artery endothelial cell


Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule


Lactate dehydrogenase


Low-density lipoprotein


Liver function test




Myocardial infarction




Nitric oxide


United Kingdom



We thank all our volunteers, without whom this study would not have been possible; the Mater Heart Foundation for financial support; and Pfizer for supplying atorvastatin


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aisling Kinsella
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Adnan Raza
    • 1
  • Susan Kennedy
    • 2
  • Yue Fan
    • 2
  • Alfred E. Wood
    • 1
  • R. W. Watson
    • 2
  1. 1.National Center for Cardiothoracic SurgeryMater Misericordiae University HospitalDublinIreland
  2. 2.UCD School of Medicine & Medical Sciences, UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical ResearchUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.Mater Misericordiae University HospitalIrish Heart and Lung Transplant ProgrammeDublinIreland

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