Skip to main content

Statins as potential therapeutic drug for asthma?



Statins are lipid-lowering agents that also exhibit pleiotropic effects in decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation. There have been several published studies reporting the use of statins in the treatment of asthma patients, but their results are not consistent. The aim of this study is to determine whether statins are beneficial for asthma administration, and explore the potential covariables that may affect their clinical effectiveness.


A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Center Register of Controlled Trials from inception to September 2012. Randomized controlled trials (RCT), retrospective studies and controlled clinical trials which reported the use of statins in the treatment of asthma patients were eligible. Quality evaluation was conducted for RCT using Jadad criteria.


A total of 18 articles were included. In our study, we found no conclusive evidence to demonstrate that statins could enhance the lung function in asthmatics, although, they may reduce airway inflammation. Additionally, the results were not consistent across studies with respect to symptoms, quality of life, maintenance medication, asthma hospitalization/emergency department (ED) visits.


Statins may reduce airway inflammation in asthmatics, without having a significant effect on lung function. Further large sample and multicenter clinical trials are needed to confirm this and to see if there are more responsive phenotypes of asthma.


Chronic airway inflammation plays a major role in the pathophysiology of asthma, and is also associated with airway hyperresponsiveness. Glucocorticoids,leukotriene modifiers, and anti-IgE antibody are the main anti-inflammatory medications to keep asthma under clinical control chiefly through their anti-inflammatory effects [1, 2]. However, specific subpopulations of individuals including smokers [3], obese asthmatics [4, 5] and non-Th2-high asthmatics [6] respond poorly to the above medications.

Statins,inhibitors of hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-A) reductase,can inhibit the mevalonate pathway and the synthesis of downstream intermediates including farnesylpyrophosphate (FPP) and geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (GGPP), which post-translationally modify small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) [7, 8]. GTPases may play a role in the pathophysiology of asthma, because they could enhance airway smooth muscle contraction and proliferation, and increase airway hyperresponsiveness [9, 10]. Studies have demonstrated that statins reduce the total inflammatory cell infiltrate and eosinophilia in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in an animal model of asthma [11] and inhibit the airway smooth muscle proliferation and contraction in vitro [12].

In 2009, a retrospective study by Stanek et al. [13] showed that statin therapy was independently associated with a significant 33% relative risk reduction for recurrent asthma-related hospitalization/emergency department (ED) events. Recently, several studies have been performed in asthmatics to investigate the clinical effectiveness of statins in asthma. Some studies suggested that short-term treatment with statins could increase lung function, enhance the anti-inflammatory effect of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), and improve the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) and Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) [1416]. However, other studies failed to replicate these results [1719]. Therefore, we performed a systematic review to see whether asthmatic patients could benefit clinically from statins, and explore potential factors that may affect their clinical effectiveness.


Search strategies

A systematic literature search was conducted by two investigators (C Y and Y T) independently in Pubmed, Embase and Corchrane Center Register of Controlled Trials from database inception to September 2012, with the reference lists browsed at the same time. The following terms were used for statins: “hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme a reductase inhibitors”, “HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors”, “simvastatin”, “lovastatin”, “pravastatin”, “fluvastatin”, “atorvastatin”, “cerivastatin”, “rosuvastatin”, “pitavastatin”, “statin”, “statins” and “compactin”. The following terms were used for asthma:“asthma”, “bronchial spasm”, “bronchoconstriction”, “bronchial hyperreactivity”, “airway inflammation”, “wheeze” and “wheezing”. There was no language restriction.

Study selection criteria

Studies which selected asthmatics exposed to statins as the trial group and asthmatics unexposed to statins as the control group, or made assessment on the effect of statins by comparing it with the baseline were eligible. Also abstracts without full text that provided information on asthmatics about lung function outcomes, airway inflammation, or the quality of life were included.

Studies that conducted in vitro or in animal models were excluded (Additional file 1).

Data extracted

According to the search strategy and select criteria, two investigators (C Y and Y T) respectively reviewed the titles, abstract and full articles, we obtained the eligible studies. However, 10 studies, including studies only published as abstracts which did not provide enough information and intervention studies without a placebo control were discussed by the authors and their inclusion resolved by consensus after review by X Y. For each study, relevant data were directly derived from the paper including the demographic data, administration, type of study, duration of treatment, outcomes assessment, conclusions etc.

Quality evaluation

Quality evaluation was conducted for each randomized controlled trial. Four RCT studies were excluded from the quality evaluation because they were published in the form of an abstract and therefore we were unable to extract enough information from them. Quality evaluation is consistent with the Jadad criteria (scoring was made according to descriptions for randomization, double blinding, withdrawals and dropouts, maximum score 5) [20]. A poor score was defined as less than 2, and a good score was defined as 3–5 (Table 1).

Table 1 Results of the quality evaluation for selected RCT studies


Figure 1 shows the results of the systematic literature search. A total of 1032 articles were reviewed, of which 877 were irrelevant and 97 were duplicate studies, and therefore they were excluded from the study after screening the titles. Of the remaining 58 relevant studies, 21 were concerned with animal experiments, 11 were reviews, 5 were in vitro trials, and 3 were not related to asthma. Finally, 18 articles were included in our study: 9 RCT (4 published as abstracts), 7 retrospective studies (4 published as abstracts), and the remaining two were controlled clinical trials (published as abstracts) comparing statins with the placebo or baseline. There was a significant difference in the methodology, demographic data, baseline characteristics and outcome measures between the retrospective studies and the RCT studies. Additionally, insufficient data were available in the 5 RCT studies whose designs were relatively rigorous by scoring four or more points. We tried to contact the authors by email to obtain the original data without success. A meta-analysis was, therefore, impracticable and systematic qualitative appraisal was performed.

Figure 1

Results of the systematic literature search.

Lung function

Of the eight RCT studies reporting lung function results in asthma patients, six showed that statins did not improve lung function [16, 19, 2124]. One demonstrated that simvastatin was associated with minor improvement in FEV1 (p<0.01) in the absence of steroids [25] and another demonstrated that atorvastatin promoted clinical and functional improvement in night-time symptoms, cough, daily symptoms and FEV1 in severe asthma patients [14]. Three retrospective studies showed inconsistent results. Pagovich et al. demonstrated that statins were associated with improvement in peak flow (PF) measurements (p<0.0001) [26], whereas Adams et al. suggested that statins did not have a beneficial effect on lung function in asthma patients [27]. Ostroukhova et al. intriguingly reported that FEV1 became worse in asthma patients who received statins [18]. Finally, in a small controlled clinical trial with only 9 asthmatic patients, atorvastatin failed to improve lung function [28]. Overall, there was no evidence that statins improved lung function in asthmatic patients (Table 2).

Table 2 Studies which report lung function after statin treatment

Airway inflammation

Three randomized double-blind clinical trials demonstrated that statins could decrease induced sputum cell counts in asthmatics, including eosinophils [15, 25] and macrophages [22]. Evidence also suggested that simvastatin had an anti-inflammatory activity in reducing serum ECP and CRP levels [29]. Additionally, Menzies et al. demonstrated that simvastatin led to a 0.86 geometric mean fold decrease (95% CI, 0.7 to 1.04; P=0.15) in fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), and a −0.18 doubling dilution shift (95% CI, –1.90 to 1.55; P=1.0) in methacholine hyperresponsiveness [21]. In contrast Braganza et al. [16] showed that the cell counts in induced sputum were similar after atorvastatin and placebo treatment. Overall, statins reduced airway inflammation in asthma patients (Table 3).

Table 3 Studies which report airway and serum inflammation after statin treatment

Comparison of symptoms and quality of life

Braganza et al. [16] compared asthmatics treated with atorvastatin (40mg/day) with those treated with placebo in a randomized double-blind parallel group trial. They reported that there was a significant improvement in ACQ score and AQLQ score at 4 weeks in the atorvastatin group without inhaled ICS, which was not maintained at 8 weeks. Another study found that ACQ score was lower in the simvastatin group compared with the placebo group in the absence of steroids [25]. Hothersall et al. [22] showed that there was no significant difference in ACQ score or AQLQ score between atorvastatin and placebo treatment (Table 4).

Table 4 Studies which report the comparison of symptoms and quality of life

Asthma hospitalization/ED visit, maintenance medications and morbidity

Five studies reported the outcomes of asthma hospitalization/ED visits. Of them, three studies showed that statin exposure was independently associated with a reduction in asthma-related hospitalization/ED visits as indicated by multivariate analysis [13, 30, 31], whilst the remaining two studies reported contradictory results, one of which reported that statins increased the risk of asthma-related hospitalization/ED visits [18], and the other reported that statins could not reduce this risk, after analysis adjusted for age, sex, baseline severity and comorbidities [17]. An additional two studies showed that statins were associated with a reduction in albuterol or salbutamol use [23, 26]. This study also contradicted that of Christiansen et al. who reported that statins did not lead to a decrease the dosage of corticosteroids [17]. Ostroukhova et al. reported that salbutamol was used more frequently in the statin group as compared with the control group [18]. Moskovljevic et al. [28] and Feschenko et al. [14] reported a reduced morbidity score in patients receiving atorvastatin compared with those receiving the placebo. Additionally, a retrospective study showed that the statin groups had more nocturnal awakenings than controls (Table 5) [18].

Table 5 Studies which report asthma hospitalization/ED visit, maintenance medications use (steroid or salbutamol) etc


A total of 18 studies have been included in this research. Of these, only three studies demonstrated that statins could enhance the lung function in asthmatics, whilst 15 studies failed to support this. There was a tendency that statins were associated with reduced airway inflammation, suggesting that statins may be used as a supplement for anti-inflammatory treatment of asthma at present. The effects of statins were inconsistent in different studies with respect to the symptoms, quality of life, asthma hospitalization/ED visits and maintenance medications. Further large placebo-controlled studies are needed in well-defined subsets of asthmatics patients treated or not treated with corticosteroids before a consensus can be reached.

The clinical status of participants may affect the clinical effectiveness of statins, such as the severity of asthma, age of participants, smoking status and obesity. Feschenko et al. selected 31 severe asthma as the subjects and found that atorvastatin significantly improved clinical and functional outcomes [14], which indicated statins might be effective in severe asthma. However, the results of other included studies, in which the participants were mostly mild to moderate asthmatics did not show a beneficial effect of statins. Further studies on severe asthmatics are needed to confirm this.

A retrospective study found that increasing age was independently associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for asthma patients [30]. This may be due to poor asthma control and medication compliance in elderly patients [3234] and this may explain the effects of statins.

In addition, some results have shown that ex-smokers and current smokers have a lower decline in FEV1 and FVC when taking statins [35, 36]. Furthermore, Braganza et al. showed that in smokers with mild to moderate asthma, short term treatment with statins could improve asthma quality of life [16]. Cigarette smoking in asthma is associated with a reduced sensitivity to ICS [3], so statins may act as an effective therapy for asthma patients who have reduced sensitivity to ICS. Finally, studies have demonstrated that obesity was associated with poor asthma control [37, 38] and poor response to ICS treatment [39]. Statins are lipid-lowering agents and may be used to relieve the symptoms of obesity-related asthma.

Our analysis of the clinical data reported to date indicates marked differences in study design. Statins inhibit contraction and migration of human airway smooth muscle cells [40]. It was estimated that smooth muscle cells of the mouse aorta divide with a half-life in the range of 300 [41] to 800 [42] days, and this half-life is much longer than the duration of treatment of most clinical studies (4 or 8 weeks). Therefore, if these results are translated to man, the therapeutic effects of statins in asthma may only become apparent after long-term treatment. Long-term studies should be designed to investigate the long- term effects of statins.

There is evidence that the therapeutic effects of individual statins are different. For example, simvastatin and lovastatin are more effective against human smooth muscle cells than atrovastatin in vitro [43]. Furthermore, cerivastatin has the greatest potency in reducing NF-κB-mediated inflammation [44]. Lipophilic statins such as atorvastatin and simvastatin have much greater effects on inflammatory responses in human monocytes in vitro and mice leukocytes in vivo than hydrophilic pravastatin [45]. Thus, new clinical trials should compare the efficacy of different statins since these may have different effects. Animal experiments have confirmed the effective dosage of statins used in animal asthma models, the high-dose being 40mg/kg for simvastatin [11, 46] in comparison with 4mg/kg for lovastatin [10]. The maximum recommended dosage of atorvastatin is 80mg/day in man. However, the dosage of statins was below 40mg/day in all eligible studies. In addition, the effect of the small sample size in most of the reported studies must not be ignored.

There are certain limitations of our study. We used a loose selection criteria; for example, abstracts and studies with comparison against baseline only were also selected, because there have not been many studies in this area. In addition, we were unable to conduct a meta-analysis due to limited information, and therefore we could not provide statistically significant evidence to confirm the effectiveness of statins.

In conclusion, statins may reduce airway inflammation in asthmatics, although there is not sufficient evidence to make a conclusion that statins can improve lung function. A sub-population of asthmatics, including smokers and obese individuals who respond poorly to ICS may respond preferentially to statins. The immunomodulating property of statins may shed new light on their promising use in the treatment of asthma. Large sample and multicenter clinical trials in selected specific subpopulations will be needed to investigate the full potential effects of statins in asthma treatment.



randomized controlled trial


Asthma Control Questionnaire


Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire


Concentration of methacholine that reduces FEV1 by 10%


Peak Expiratory Flow


Forced expiratory volume in one second


Fraction of exhaled nitric oxide


Asthma Control Test


Peak flows


Serum eosinophil cationic protein


C-reactive protein


Forced Vital Capacity.


  1. 1.

    Riccioni G: Antileukotriene drugs: clinical application, effectiveness and safety. Curr Med Chem. 2007, 14 (18): 1966-1977. 10.2174/092986707781368522.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Strunk RC: Omalizumab for Asthma. N Engl J Med. 2006, 354 (25): 2689-2695. 10.1056/NEJMct055184.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Thomson NC, Chaudhuri R: Asthma in smokers: challenges and opportunities. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2009, 15 (1): 39-45. 10.1097/MCP.0b013e32831da894.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Peters-Golden M, Swern A, Bird SS, et al: Influence of body mass index on the response to asthma controller agents. Eur Respir J. 2006, 27: 495-503. 10.1183/09031936.06.00077205.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Farah CS, Kermode JA, Downie SR, Brown NJ, Hardaker KM, Berend N, King GG, Salome CM: Obesity Is a Determinant of Asthma Control. 2011, Chest: Independent of Inflammation and Lung Mechanics

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Prescott G, Woodruff BM: T-helper Type 2–driven Inflammation Defines Major Subphenotypes of Asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2009, 180: 388-395. 10.1164/rccm.200903-0392OC.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Zeki AA, Kenyon NJ, Goldkorn T: Statin drugs, metabolic pathways, and asthma: a therapeutic opportunity needing further research. Drug Metab Lett. 2011, 5 (1): 40-44. 10.2174/187231211794455217.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Goldstein JL, Brown MS: Regulation of the mevalonate pathway. Nature. 1990, 343 (6257): 425-430. 10.1038/343425a0.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Kume H: RhoA/Rho-kinase as a therapeutic target in asthma. Curr Med Chem. 2008, 15 (27): 2876-2885. 10.2174/092986708786242831.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Chiba Y, Matsusue K, Misawa M: RhoA, a possible target for treatment of airway hyperresponsiveness in bronchial asthma. J Pharmacol Sci. 2010, 114 (3): 239-247. 10.1254/jphs.10R03CR.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    McKay A, Leung BP, McInnes IB, Thomson NC, Liew FY: A Novel Anti-Inflammatory Role of Simvastatin in a Murine Model of Allergic Asthma. J Immunol. 2004, 172 (5): 2903-2908.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Takeda N, Kondo M, Ito S, Ito Y, Shimokata K, Kume H: Role of RhoA inactivation in reduced cell proliferation of human airway smooth muscle by simvastatin. AmJ Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2006, 35 (6): 722-729. 10.1165/rcmb.2006-0034OC.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Stanek EJ, Aubert RE, Xia F, Frueh FW, Sanders C, Weiss ST, Epstein RS: Impact of statin therapy on asthma-related event costs in adult asthma patients. Value Health. 2009, 12 (3): A121-A122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Feschenko Y, Lashyna L, Kramarskaya N, Polianska M, Matvienko J: Clinical and functional effectiveness of atorvastatin in complex therapy of severe bronchial asthma [Abstract]. European Respiratory Society Annual Congress, Berlin, Germany, October 4–8. 2009, [E4554].

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Maneechotesuwan K, Ekjiratrakul W, Kasetsinsombat K, Wongkajornsilp A, Barnes PJ: Statins enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of inhaled corticosteroids in asthmatic patients through increased induction of indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010, 126: 754-762. 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.08.005. e751.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Braganza G, Chaudhuri R, McSharry C, Weir CJ, Donnelly I, Jolly L, Lafferty J, Lloyd SM, Spears M, Mair F, et al: Effects of short-term treatment with atorvastatin in smokers with asthma–a randomized controlled trial. BMC Pulm Med. 2011, 11: 16-10.1186/1471-2466-11-16.

    PubMed  CAS  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Christiansen SC, Schatz M, Eddleston J, Wagelie-Steffen A, Yang SJ, Chen W, Zuraw BL: HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and asthma severity. J Allergy ClinImmunol. 2009, 123 (2): S84-

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Ostroukhova M, Kouides RW, Friedman E: The effect of statin therapy on allergic patients with asthma. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009, 103 (6): 463-468. 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60261-X.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Foumani S, Nejatifar F, Forghan Parast K, Heidarinejad S, Mortazhejri G: Effects of atorvastatin in asthmatic patients under treatment with high dose inhaled or oral steroid [Abstract]. European Respiratory Society Annual Congress, Barcelona, Spain, September 18–22. 2010, [372].

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Jadad AR: Assessing the Quality of Reports of Randomized Clinical Trials: Is Blinding Necessary?. Controlled Clin Trials. 1996, 17: 1-12. 10.1016/0197-2456(95)00134-4.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Menzies D, Nair A, Meldrum KT, Fleming D, Barnes M, Lipworth BJ: Simvastatin does not exhibit therapeutic anti-inflammatory effects in asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007, 119: 328-335. 10.1016/j.jaci.2006.10.014.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Hothersall EJ, Chaudhuri R, McSharry C, Donnelly I, Lafferty J, McMahon AD, Weir CJ, Meiklejohn J, Sattar N, McInnes I, et al: Effects of atorvastatin added to inhaled corticosteroids on lung function and sputum cell counts in atopic asthma. Thorax. 2008, 63: 1070-1075. 10.1136/thx.2008.100198.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Fahimi F, Jamaati H, Taheri ZM, Fakharian A, Salamzadeh J: Does atorvastatin have effect on lung function and morbidity as add on therapy in asthmatic patients? [Abstract]. Eur Respir J. 2007, 490s: 2960-

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Moini A, Azimi G, Farivar A: Evaluation of atorvastatin for the treatment of patients with asthma: a double-blind randomized clinical trial. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2012, 4 (5): 290-294. 10.4168/aair.2012.4.5.290.

    PubMed  CAS  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Cowan DC, Cowan JO, Palmay R, Williamson A, Taylor DR: Simvastatin in the treatment of asthma: lack of steroid-sparing effect. Thorax. 2010, 65: 891-896. 10.1136/thx.2010.138990.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Pagovich O, Wang E, Lee-Wong M: Statins may improve asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010, 125 (2): AB45-

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Adams R, Appleton S, Wilson D, Ruffin R: Effects of lipid lowering therapy in a representative asthma population. Respirology. 2010, 15: A46-

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Moskovljevic J, Zivkovic M: Effect on lung function and morbidity in asthmatic patients who use atorvastatin. Allergy: Eur J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010, 65: 526-

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Al Obaidi AHA, Al Samarai AGM: Evaluation anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity of simvastatin in asthma. J Bahrain Med Soc. 2008, 20 (2): 55-59.

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Huang CC, Chan WL, Chen YC, Chen TJ, Chou KT, Lin SJ, Chen JW, Leu HB: Statin use in patients with asthma - a nationwide population-based study. Eur J Clin Invest. 2011, 41 (5): 507-512. 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2010.02434.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Lokhandwala T, West-Strum D, Banahan BF, Bentley JP, Yang Y: Do statins improve outcomes in patients with asthma on inhaled corticosteroid therapy? A retrospective cohort analysis. BMJ Open. 2012, 2 (3): 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001279.

  32. 32.

    Enright PL, Newman AB: Underdiagnosis and undertreatment of asthma in the elderly. Cardiovascular Health Study Research Group. 1999, 116: 603-613.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Parameswaran K: Asthma in the elderly: underperceived, underdiagnosed and undertreated; a community survey. Respir Med. 1998, 92: 573-577. 10.1016/S0954-6111(98)90311-0.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Hartert TV: Underutilization of controller and rescue medications among older adults with asthma requiring hospital care. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2000, 48: 651-657.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Alexeeff SE: Statin Use Reduces Decline in Lung Function: VA Normative Aging Study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007, 176: 742-747. 10.1164/rccm.200705-656OC.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Keddissi JI: The Use of Statins and Lung Function in Current and Former Smokers. Chest. 2007, 132 (6): 1764-1771. 10.1378/chest.07-0298.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Boulet LP, Franssen E: Influence of obesity on response to fluticasone with or without salmeterol in moderate asthma. Respir Med. 2007, 101: 2240-2247. 10.1016/j.rmed.2007.06.031.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Lavoie KL, Bacon SL, Labrecque M, et al: Higher BMI is associated with worse asthma control and quality of life but not asthma severity. Respir Med. 2006, 100: 648-657. 10.1016/j.rmed.2005.08.001.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Forno E, Lescher R: Decreased response to inhaled steroids in overweight and obese asthmatic children. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011, 127 (3): 741-749. 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.12.010.

    PubMed  CAS  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Rolfe BE, Worth NF: Rho and vascular disease. Atherosclerosis. 2005, 183 (1): 1-16. 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2005.04.023.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Neese RA, Misell LM, Turner S, Chu A, Kim J, Cesar D, et al: Measurement in vivo of proliferation rates of slow turnover cells by 2H2O labeling of the deoxyribose moiety of DNA. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA. 2002, 99 (24): 15345-15350. 10.1073/pnas.232551499.

    PubMed  CAS  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Chu A, Ordonez ET, Hellerstein MK: Measurement of mouse vascular smooth muscle and atheroma cell proliferation by 2H2O incorporation into DNA. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2006, 291 (5): C1014-C1021. 10.1152/ajpcell.00191.2006.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Knapp AC, Huang J, Starling G: Inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase sensitize human smooth muscle cells to Fas-ligand and cytokine-induced cell death. Atherosclerosis. 2000, 152: 217-227. 10.1016/S0021-9150(99)00462-1.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Hilgendorff A, Muth H, Parviz B: Statins differ in their ability to block NFkB activation in human blood monocytes. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2003, 41: 397-401.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Kiener PA, Davis PM, Murray JL: Stimulation of inflammatory responses in vitro and in vivo by lipophilic HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Int Immunopharmacol. 2001, 1: 105-118. 10.1016/S0162-3109(00)00272-1.

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Amir A, Zeki JMB: Simvastatin inhibits goblet cell hyperplasia and lung arginase in a mouse model of allergic asthma: a novel treatment for airway remodeling?. Transl Res. 2010, 156: 335-349. 10.1016/j.trsl.2010.09.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank Ji Zhou, Hui Bi, Yuan Liu, Ailing Zhu for their suggestions and comments during the systemic review process.

This study was supported by the National Major Scientific and Technological Special Project for "Significant New Drugs Development" (2011ZX09302-003-02), Jiangsu Province Major Scientific and Technological Special Project (BM2011017), the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD, JX10231801).

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Mao Huang or Xin Yao.

Additional information

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

All authors read and met ICMJE criteria for authorship. CY and XY designed this study; CY and YT extracted data; CY, LZ, JY.Z, JY.C performed the analysis; CY wrote the first draft of the manuscript and XY, MH, IMA and PJB critically revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Cheng Yuan, Lin Zhou contributed equally to this work.

Electronic supplementary material

Authors’ original submitted files for images

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yuan, C., Zhou, L., Cheng, J. et al. Statins as potential therapeutic drug for asthma?. Respir Res 13, 108 (2012).

Download citation


  • Statins
  • Asthma
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Lung function