Effects of statins on serum inflammatory markers: the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2010 Nov 27;17(11):1176-82. doi: 10.5551/jat.5652. Epub 2010 Aug 25.


Aim: To evaluate the effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin) treatment on serum inflammatory markers using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2004).

Methods and results: A total of 9,128 individuals aged 40 and older participated in the NHANES. The inflammatory markers studied were white blood cell counts (WBC), high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) and ferritin. Other covariables were: age, gender, race/ethnicity, body mass index, prescription or nonprescription medication use within the previous 30 days (statins, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics). Four analytic groups for drug use were defined: Statin users; AI/Antibiotic users (use of either anti-inflammatory or antibiotic drugs); Combination group (use of both Statins and anti-inflammatory or antibiotic drugs), and a Non-use group (taking none of the listed drugs). The mean CRP level was significantly lower in the Statin use group than the Non-use group (0.3 mg/dL, 95%CI: 0.3-0.3 and 0.4 mg/dL, 95%CI: 0.4-0.5). In multivariable regression modeling, the Statin use group had significantly lower predicted mean WBC (Beta Coeff: -0.2, p < 0.05) and CRP (Beta Coeff: -0.1, p < 0.01) values than the Non-use group.

Conclusions: Treatment with statins was significantly associated with decreased WBC and CRP levels in this large population-based sample.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Biomarkers
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ferritins