Repurposing Treatments to Enhance Innate Immunity. Can Statins Improve Neutrophil Functions and Clinical Outcomes in COPD?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


  • James A Stockley
  • Diane Griffiths
  • Charandeep S Sadhra
  • Thomas Purvis

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Birmingham
  • University Hospital Birmingham


Drug classes used in the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have not changed for many years, and none to date have shown disease-modifying activity. Statins are used to help reduce cardiovascular risk, which is high in many patients with COPD. Their use has been associated with improvements in some respiratory manifestations of disease and reduction in all-cause mortality, with greatest reductions seen in patients with the highest inflammatory burden. The mechanism for these effects is poorly understood. Neutrophils are key effector cells in COPD, and correlate with disease severity and inflammation. Recent in vitro studies have shown neutrophil functions are dysregulated in COPD and this is thought to contribute both to the destruction of lung parenchyma and to the poor responses seen in infective exacerbations. In this article, we will discuss the potential utility of statins in COPD, with a particular emphasis on their immune-modulatory effects as well as presenting new data regarding the effects of statins on neutrophil function in vitro.


Original languageEnglish
Article number89
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2016


  • simvastatin, chemotaxis, statins, COPD, inflammation, neutrophil