Statins and the brain: New perspective for old drugs

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 3:66:80-86. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.11.013. Epub 2015 Dec 2.


Statins are one of the most popular lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs). Upon oral administration, these drugs are well absorbed by the intestine and effectively used for the treatment of dyslipidemias. Recently, statins are becoming also well-known for their cholesterol-independent effects and their potential use in brain diseases and different types of cancers. While still controversial, recent research has suggested that statin's cholesterol-independent activities work possibly through alterations on isoprenoid levels. This reduction of isoprenoids in the central nervous system might result in effective biochemical and behavioral improvements on certain neurological disorders. This manuscript aims to highlight current research describing the use of statin therapy in the brain and discuss whether statins might affect neuronal dynamics and function independently of their cholesterol regulatory role.

Keywords: Autism; Cholesterol; Cognition; Neurodegenerative disorders; Statin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors