Use of statins may influence susceptibility to or the progression of interstitial lung disease (ILD) in smokers, according to a new study.
While some studies have suggested that statins might be beneficial in the treatment of fibrotic lung disease, others have suggested that they may contribute to the progression of pulmonary fibrosis by enhancing secretion of inflammasome-regulated cytokines, and numerous case reports have suggested that statins may contribute to the development of various types of ILD.
“Based on earlier case reports of statin-associated ILD and data suggesting that smoking is associated with the interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) which underlie ILD, we hypothesized that statins would increase the risk for ILA in a population of smokers,” said George R. Washko MD, MMsC, and Gary M. Hunninghake MD, MPH, of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Accordingly, we evaluated the association between statin use and ILA in a large cohort of current and former smokers from the COPDGene study. In addition to the association between statin use and ILA we found in humans, we also demonstrated that statin administration aggravated lung injury and fibrosis in bleomycin-treated mice.” Bleomycin has been shown to induce lung inflammation and fibrosis.
The findings were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
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