Effect of pravastatin, simvastatin and atorvastatin on the phagocytic activity of mouse peritoneal macrophages

Meir Djaldetti*, Hertzel Salman, Michael Bergman, Hanna Bessler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since cholesterol and lipid content may affect cell membrane fluidity, we assumed that treatment of mice with lipid lowering statins would enhance the engulfing capacity of their macrophages. Four groups of animals were examined. Group I-treated with pravastatin, group II - with simvastatin - both drugs in a dosage of 40 mg/kg daily, 5 days/week for a total of 3 weeks. Mice in group III received atorvastatin 5 mg/kg for the same time period. Group IV-untreated animals serving as controls. The phagocytic capacity of the peritoneal macrophages was evaluated by their ability to engulf latex particles. In addition, the mitogen response of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and splenocytes to Con A and PHA was examined. Compared to the controls, the percentage of phagocyting cells in pravastatin-treated mice was enhanced by 18%, with simvastatin-by 24% and in atorvastatin-treated animals by 8%. The three statins increased the phagocytic index by 79.5%, 88.8% and 62%, respectively. The mitogen response of splenocytes from mice treated with the three statins to Con A increased by 68%, 48% and by 40%, respectively. Compared with the controls the response to PHA was higher in animals treated with pravastatin (84%), simvastatin (73%) and atorvastatin (57%). The response of PBMC from statin-treated animals to both mitogens did not differ from that of the controls. The results suggest that statins, at least those hereby investigated, may exert a beneficial effect on the immune function of the macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-164
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Mitogen response
  • Peritoneal macrophages
  • Phagocytosis
  • Statins


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