Anti-inflammatory effects of simvastatin in subjects with hypercholesterolemia

Int J Cardiol. 2001 Feb;77(2-3):247-53. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5273(00)00439-3.


Aims: Beneficial effects of statins in preventing cardiovascular events may depend, at least in part, on their anti-inflammatory action. The aim of the study was to assess the influence of simvastatin and aspirin on serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in hypercholesterolemic subjects.

Methods and results: In 33 asymptomatic men with total cholesterol (TC) >6.5 mmol l(-1) and in 25 men with coronary heart disease and borderline-high cholesterol levels (between 5.2 and 6.5 mmol l(-1)) chronically treated with low-dose aspirin (75 mg/d), serum levels of CRP, TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8 were determined before and after a 3-month simvastatin therapy (20-40 mg daily). In the former group, these markers of inflammation were also measured before and after a 2-week treatment with aspirin (300 mg/d), implemented prior to and in combination with simvastatin. A distinct reduction of CRP and TNF-alpha was found in both groups; IL-6 levels were decreased only in subjects with marked hypercholesterolemia. Aspirin had no effect on the anti-inflammatory action of simvastatin.

Conclusions: In men with hypercholesterolemia simvastatin treatment lowers serum levels of CRP and proinflammatory cytokines. Low-dose aspirin does not add to the anti-inflammatory action of simvastatin.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aspirin / pharmacology
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Interleukin-8 / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Simvastatin / pharmacology*
  • Simvastatin / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Simvastatin
  • Aspirin