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Pitavastatin inhibits proinflammatory cytokines and provides improvement in terms of its motor function in secondary injuries of the spinal cord mouse models

Background: Statins are hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors that reduce intracellular cholesterol synthesis by competitively inhibiting endogenous cholesterol synthesis rate limiting enzymes. Currently they are most used in the prevention of coronary heart disease. Aside on their cholesterol-lowering effect, statins are also anti-inflammatory in terms of their effects. Recent studies have shown that statins can produce anti-inflammatory effects in acute models of injuries in the spinal cord.

Methods: In order to clarify the function of pitavastatin in secondary spinal cord injuries, we tested the effect of pitavastatin (50 mg/kg) in mouse spinal cord injury. The mice were grouped into control group, sham operation group, injury group, methylprednisolone group and pitavastatin group. We conducted T5-8 laminectomy to mice, then used aneurysms clip at the T6-7 level for epidural compression as our spinal cord injury model. Caspase-3, myeloperoxidase activity, TNF-α, NO level, and BMS score were investigated between groups. The results were analysed statistically.

Results: The activity of caspase-3, myeloperoxidase, TNF-α, and NO had effectively increased after traumatic spinal cord injury, and the above indexes were significantly decreased after the application of pitavastatin. Furthermore, pitavastatin treatment showed improved results in functional tests.

Conclusion: The treatment of pitavastatin in injuries of the acute spinal cord in vivo experiments showed anti-inflammatory effects and ameliorated secondary spinal cord injury.

Author(s): Xianpei Wu, Jingmin Zhao