Statins decrease chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan expression and acute astrocyte activation in central nervous system injury.
Exp Neurol. 2008 Nov ;214(1):78-86. Epub 2008 Aug 5. PMID: 18722369
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Statins elicit numerous favorable effects on central nervous system (CNS) injury, including inhibition of the rhoA/ROCK pathway. In the present study, we show that statins decrease acute astrocyte activation in CNS injury, and decrease chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) levels in astrocyte cultures as well as CNS injury. CSPG levels decreased by up to 45% in simvastatin-treated astrocyte cultures compared to control cultures. In simvastatin-treated animals, CSPG levels declined by 60% 8 days after brain stab injury, and by 62-64% 4 weeks after spinal cord injury (SCI). Glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) levels decreased in brain stab at 8 days after surgery/intervention, suggesting that statins produce a decrease in astrocyte activation. Attenuation of astrocyte activation may contribute to the decline in CSPG levels. However, there are likely other contributing factors, since GFAP levels were not a contributing factor in the decline of CSPG levels in astrocyte cultures. Robust locomotor improvements were not observed with any treatment. The numerous beneficial effects of statins on CNS injury render them an attractive candidate in the treatment of CNS injury.