STATINS: Benefits for women’s immunity?

STATINS: Benefits for women’s immunity?

Cholesterol has a somewhat bad reputation for its association with cardiovascular diseases, but its role in the body is more subtle:

  • If too high levels of cholesterol can promote its accumulation in the walls of the arteries and cause cardiovascular disease;
  • Cholesterol molecules play an essential role in the structure and signaling pathways of our cells and, as scientists are beginning to understand, in immune function. Previous in vitro and in vivo studies suggested the important role of lipids in modulating immune cells, but there is as yet little evidence for this relationship in humans.

What is the relationship between serum lipids and antinuclear antibodies?

What is the relationship between blood lipid levels (total cholesterol, HDL and LDL and triglycerides) and antinuclear antibodies (ANA: antinuclear antibodies)?

  • ANAs are a common type of antibody and a diagnostic and prognostic marker for autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, and death. The presence of ANA may also indicate immune activation or dysfunction in response to cell turnover or pathogens. This is especially the case in the case of a COVID-19 infection.
  • It is also known that really high levels of lipids can make our immune cells more reactive. Animal studies have already shown that very high levels of lipids can stimulate autoimmunity.

The study: So the researchers decided to study the effects of statin use on autoimmunity. While some studies have indicated anti-inflammatory effects of statins in patients with autoimmune diseases, others have suggested that statins may promote the development of autoimmune diseases.

  • The new study shows that the use of statins has a beneficial effect on women, but not in men. Thus,
  • Women who take statins are 75% less likely to have ANA+ than those who don’t. This suggests that statins in women “reduce” the risk of autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and death, and even severe complications if infected.

STATINS: Benefits for women’s immunity?

Are statins conducive to female immunity? While the adherence to statin therapy may not be as strong in women because they experience more side effects, it is important to consider this new sex-specific immune advantage in the benefits and drug risks.

Lead author Dr. Katherine Andersen, associate professor of nutrition, calls for “continued research into these traditional cardiovascular drugs that target lipid metabolism but may also offer immune benefits.”

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