Soluble CD14, a marker of monocyte activation and independent predictor of mortality in HIV disease, is reduced by rosuvastatin treatment. Monocyte tissue factor expression in HIV-infected subjects is reduced by rosuvastatin treatment, potentially reducing thrombotic risk.
Background. Statins, or 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, have anti-inflammatory effects that are independent of their lipid-lowering properties. Despite suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART), elevated levels of immune activation and inflammation often persist.
Methods. The Stopping Atherosclerosis and Treating Unhealthy Bone With Rosuvastatin in HIV (SATURN-HIV) trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, designed to investigate the effects of rosuvastatin (10 mg/daily) on markers of cardiovascular disease risk in ART-treated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected subjects. A preplanned analysis was to assess changes in markers of immune activation at week 24. Subjects with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <130 mg/dL and heightened immune activation (%CD8+CD38+HLA-DR+ ≥19%, or plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein ≥2 mg/L) were randomized to receive rosuvastatin or placebo. We measured plasma (soluble CD14 and CD163) and cellular markers of monocyte activation (proportions of monocyte subsets and tissue factor expression) and T-cell activation (expression of CD38, HLA-DR, and PD1).
Results. After 24 weeks of rosuvastatin, we found significant decreases in plasma levels of soluble CD14 (−13.4% vs 1.2%, P = .002) and in proportions of tissue factor–positive patrolling (CD14DimCD16+) monocytes (−38.8% vs −11.9%, P = .04) in rosuvastatin-treated vs placebo-treated subjects. These findings were independent of the lipid-lowering effect and the use of protease inhibitors. Rosuvastatin did not lead to any changes in levels of T-cell activation.
Conclusions. Rosuvastatin treatment effectively lowered markers of monocyte activation in HIV-infected subjects on antiretroviral therapy.
Clinical Trials Registration NCT01218802.