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Potential Immunomodulatory Effects of Statins in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Côté-Daigneault, Justin MD; Mehandru, Saurabh MD; Ungaro, Ryan MD; Atreja, Ashish MD; Colombel, Jean-Frédéric MD

doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000000640
Clinical Review Articles

Abstract: Statins are among the most widely prescribed medications in the world. In addition to lowering cholesterol, statins have been shown to have immunomodulatory effects in multiple studies. For example, statins modulate the interaction between T cells and antigen-presenting cells, resulting in decreased T-cell activation and reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines. Statins have also been demonstrated to inhibit the migration of leukocytes across vascular endothelium into tissues. Although most research on the immune effects of statins has been conducted in the context of cardiovascular, rheumatological, or metabolic disease, various studies have shown that statins may have a significant impact on intestinal immunity and mucosal inflammation. Clinical research has suggested that statins may have benefit in inflammatory bowel disease. In this article, we review the effect of statins on the immune system and gastrointestinal tract, highlighting the potential for novel therapeutic applications in inflammatory bowel disease.

Article first published online 25 January 2016.

The Henry D. Janowitz Division of Gastroenterology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.

Reprints: Jean-Frédéric Colombel, MD, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, The Henry D. Janowitz Division of Gastroenterology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave Levy Place, New York, NY 10029 (e-mail:

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Received August 22, 2015

Accepted September 22, 2015

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.