Statins are cholesterol lowering drugs. In a recent study at the University of California San Diego researchers established that statins provide for white blood cells to more effectively kill harmful bacteria and remove foreign particles and dead cells from the blood.
The researchers focused on Staphyloccocus aureus, more commonly called "staph," a frequently antibiotic-resistant human pathogen responsible for everything from minor skin infections to life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. Mice treated with statins were more resistant to staph infections, and phagocytes isolated from these mice were more effective at killing staph bacteria. Simple exposure of freshly isolated human white blood cells to statins in a test tube markedly increased their ability to kill staph and other important disease causing bacteria.
Previous studies have shown that statins also have anti-inflamatory properties and long term use does not increase the risk of cancer.
The findings of the UCSD study have been published in the 11-18-10 issue of Cell Host & Microbe.