3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors in the treatment of central nervous system diseases

Arch Neurol. 2010 Sep;67(9):1062-7. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2010.199.


3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) are among the most prescribed medications in the United States. Statins act on the rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis (the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate) and are effective in treating dyslipidemia. However, statins decrease other downstream products of the mevalonate pathway, and it is via these pathways that statins may affect inflammation, nitric oxide synthesis, the coagulation cascade, and other processes. Through these pleiotropic effects, statins may have an effect on neurologic diseases, including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, and multiple sclerosis. This article reviews the basic biochemistry of statins as it relates to these pleiotropic effects, the potential role of statins in several neurologic disorders, and the results of clinical trials performed for several of these conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors