Statins can exert dual, concentration dependent effects on HCV entry in vitro

Antiviral Res. 2016 Apr:128:43-8. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2016.02.006. Epub 2016 Feb 8.


Statins are used daily by a large and increasing number of individuals worldwide. They were initially designed as 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutharyl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoAR) inhibitors to treat patients with hypercholesterolemia. Recent studies on HCV chronically infected individuals have suggested that their use in vivo in combination with PEG-IFN and ribavirin favor the sustained viral response (SVR). Herein, we describe the effects of a set of statins on HCV entry and on HCV key entry factors in vitro. Our results suggest that all tested statins exert a proviral effect through the upregulation of LDLR. Interestingly, at higher concentration, we also provide evidence of a yet unknown competing antiviral effect of statins (except for pravastatin) through the downregulation of CLDN-1. Importantly, this work enlightens the blunt proviral effect of pravastatin at the entry step of HCV in vitro.

Keywords: CD81; CLDN-1; Cholesterol; HCV; LDLR; Lipids; NPC1L1; PCSK9; Statins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Claudin-1 / metabolism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Pravastatin / adverse effects*
  • Receptors, LDL / metabolism
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*


  • CLDN1 protein, human
  • Claudin-1
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Interferon-alpha
  • LDLR protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • NPC1L1 protein, human
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Ribavirin
  • Pravastatin