Repurposing of statins via inhalation to treat lung inflammatory conditions

Peta Bradbury, Daniela Traini, Alaina J. Ammit, Paul M. Young, Hui Xin Ong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Despite many therapeutic advancements over the past decade, the continued rise in chronic inflammatory lung diseases incidence has driven the need to identify and develop new therapeutic strategies, with superior efficacy to treat these diseases. Statins are one class of drug that could potentially be repurposed as an alternative treatment for chronic lung diseases. They are currently used to treat hypercholesterolemia by inhibiting the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, that catalyses the rate limiting step in the mevalonate biosynthesis pathway, a key intermediate in cholesterol metabolism. Recent research has identified statins to have other protective pleiotropic properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, muco-inhibitory effects that may be beneficial for the treatment of chronic inflammatory lung diseases. However, clinical studies have yielded conflicting results. This review will summarise some of the current evidences for statins pleiotropic effects that could be applied for the treatment of chronic inflammatory lung diseases, their mechanisms of actions, and the potential to repurpose statins as an inhaled therapy, including a detailed discussion on their different physical-chemical properties and how these characteristics could ultimately affect treatment efficacies. The repurposing of statins from conventional anti-cholesterol oral therapy to inhaled anti-inflammatory formulation is promising, as it provides direct delivery to the airways, reduced risk of side effects, increased bioavailability and tailored physical-chemical properties for enhanced efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Inhalation
  • Muco-inhibition
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Statins


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