Brazilian Journal of medical and biological research

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In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activities of lovastatin in rodents

Gonçalves, D.O.; Calou, I.B.F.; Siqueira, R.P.; Lopes, A.A.; Leal, L.K.A.; Brito, G.A.C.; Tomé, A.R.; Viana, G.S.B.

Statins are among the most prescribed drugs in recent clinical practice. They are also known for their pleiotropic actions, which are independent of their lipid-lowering properties. The effect of lovastatin was investigated against carrageenan-induced paw edema in male Wistar rats (200-250 g) and on leukocyte migration, as measured by carrageenan-induced peritonitis in male Swiss mice (20-25 g), which are models of acute inflammation. Lovastatin (administered 1 h prior to carrageenan), at oral doses of 2, 5, and 10 mg/kg, markedly attenuated paw edema formation in rats at the 4th hour after carrageenan injection (25, 43, and 37% inhibition, respectively). Inhibitions of 20, 45 and 80% were observed in the leukocyte migration, as evaluated by carrageenan-induced peritonitis in mice with lovastatin doses of 0.5, 1 and 5 mg/kg, as compared to controls. Furthermore, lovastatin (administered 1 h before initiation) reduced the nociceptive effect of the formalin test in mice, at both phases, at doses of 2, 5, and 10 mg/kg: first phase (51, 65, and 70%, respectively) and second phase (73, 57, and 66% inhibition of licking time, respectively). The anti-nociceptive activity of lovastatin was inhibited by naloxone (3 mg/kg, isc/i). Lovastatin (0.01, 0.1, and 1 µg/mL) inhibited by 23, 79, and 86%, respectively, the release of myeloperoxidase from human neutrophils. Leukocyte (predominantly neutrophils) infiltration was almost completely reduced by lovastatin treatment, as observed in the model of acute paw edema with hematoxylin and eosin staining. In addition, lovastatin decreased the number of cells expressing tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity. Therefore, the alterations in leukocyte activity and cytokine release could contribute to the anti-inflammatory activity of lovastatin.

Keywords: Statin; Inflammation; Anti-nociception; Myeloperoxidase; Cytokines.

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