September 23, 2008
Research: Other Research
Question from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA:
Is there any evidence that Zocor protects the beta cells from further damage in newly onset type 1 diabetes?
No direct evidence for that is available. However, the drug simvastatin (trade name Zocor) has been associated with anti-inflammatory properties. That being said, the anti-inflammatory properties are thought to play out over years.
Additional comments from Dr. Andrea Scaramuzza:
To my knowledge, no evidence exists about this topic. Only one study exists about protective effects of Zocor and it was done in mice. Statins are drugs well known for their cholesterol-lowering properties. Lately, statins have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties. The authors of the study found that treatment with simvastatin could delay, and in certain mice, fully protect against multiple low-dose streptozotocin induced diabetes. The protective effect could last up to three weeks after simvastatin treatment was ended. Morphological examinations of the pancreas suggest that simvastatin might reduce the islet inflammation. Based on experiments in vitro, using isolated pancreatic islets, the conclusion was that the protective effect of simvastatin is not mediated by a direct effect on streptozotocin action but, rather, the result of an immunomodulatory effect. This was reinforced by the finding that simvastatin treatment also prolonged islet function in the recurrence of disease model in diabetic non-obese diabetic mice. To date, there have been no studies done in humans.