Lipitor (atorvastatin) pretreatment protects against nerve injury

high-dose atorvastatin pretreatment can protect against sciatic nerve crush injury

Amplify’d from
Neurosurgery. 2010 Aug;67(2):376-88; discussion 388-9.

Neuroprotective effect of atorvastatin in an experimental model of nerve crush injury.


Department of Neurosurgery, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.



Statins have therapeutic benefits for the management of several disorders. A short-term course of a high-dose statin pretreatment has demonstrated neuroprotective effects against neurological diseases. However, the molecular basis underlying the neuroprotective action of statins remains unclear.


We investigated whether a short-term course of high-dose atorvastatin pretreatment has beneficial effects in protecting sciatic nerve from crush injury.


Atorvastatin (5 mg/kg) or saline was given orally to Sprague-Dawley rats for 7 days before injury. The rats were subjected to crush injury in the left sciatic nerve with a vessel clamp. Biochemical, functional, electrophysiological, and morphological alterations occurring during injury-induced degeneration/regeneration were examined.


Atorvastatin improved injury-induced neurobehavioral/electrophysiological changes and axonal loss. Damage-associated alterations, including structural disruption, oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis, were attenuated by atorvastatin. After injury, regeneration-associated genes, including growth-associated protein-43, myelin basic protein, ciliary neurotrophic factor, and collagen, were upregulated by atorvastatin. The suppression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, AKT, signal transducer and activators of transcription-1, and necrosis factor-kappaB and the elevated activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase, Smad2/3, and activating protein-1 were associated with the neuroprotective action of atorvastatin.


These findings suggest that a short-term course of high-dose atorvastatin pretreatment can protect against sciatic nerve crush injury through modifying intracellular or extracellular environments, making it favorable for regeneration.



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