Biological effects of simvastatin formulated as pMDI on pulmonary epithelial cells

Alaa S. Tulbah, Hui Xin Ong, Wing-Hin Lee, Paolo Colombo, Paul M. Young, Daniela Traini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aim of this study is to evaluate the biological effects of Calu-3 epithelial cells in response to the delivery of simvastatin (SV) via solution pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI). Methods: SV pMDI was aerosolised onto Calu-3 air-interface epithelial cells using a modified glass twin stage impinger. The transport of SV across Calu-3 cells, mucus production, inflammatory cytokines production i.e., interleukin (IL) 6, 8 and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF- α) and oxidative stress from Calu-3 cells following treatment with SV pMDI was investigated and compared to untreated cells. Results: It was found that SV had the ability to penetrate into the respiratory epithelium and convert into its active SV hydroxy acid (SVA) metabolite. Furthermore, the amount of mucus produced was significantly reduced when SV was deposited on Calu-3 compared to untreated cells. Additionally, SV delivered by pMDI reduces production of IL-6, 8 and TNF-α from Calu-3 following stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). SV also showed equivalent antioxidant property to vitamin E. Conclusions: Treatment with SV solution pMDI formulation on Calu-3 cells reduces mucus production, inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. This formulation could potentially be used clinically as muco-inhibitory and anti-inflammatory therapy for treatment of chronic lung diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • anti-inflammatory
  • Calu-3 epithelial cell
  • mucus
  • pMDI
  • simvastatin


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