We have previously shown that a high cholesterol (HC) diet results in increases in microglia load and levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the brains of wild type (WT) and apolipoprotein E knockout (ApoE-/-) mice. In the present investigation, we analyzed whether treatment with rosuvastatin, an inhibitor of the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, would prevent the increases in inflammatory microglia and IL-6 levels in the brain and plasma of WT and ApoE-/- mice. We report that a HC diet resulted in an increased microglia load in the brains of WT and ApoE-/- mice, in support of our previous study. Treatment with rosuvastatin significantly decreased the microglia load in the brains of WT and ApoE-/- mice on a HC diet. Rosuvastatin treatment resulted in lowered plasma IL-6 levels in WT mice on a HC diet. However, in the present study the number of IL-6 positive cells in the brain was not significantly affected by a HC diet. A recent clinical study has shown that rosuvastatin reduces risk of ischemic stroke in patients with high plasma levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein by 50%. The results from our study show that rosuvastatin reduces inflammatory cells in the brain. This finding is essential for furthering the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and stroke.
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