1Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
2Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
3Department of Immunology, Infectious Diseases Research Center (IDRC), School of Medicine, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
4Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
Background: Statins, widely used cholesterol-lowering agents, have also been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory and immunomdulatory effects. Objective: To evaluate the effects of atorvastatin in combination with Interferon-β in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) in a randomized controlled clinical trial. Methods: Multiple sclerosis patients were randomized independently, in a double blind design, into one of two treatment groups. Control group (n=45) received 30 μg/week interferon β-1a via intra-muscular injection. Atorvastatin-treated group (n=50) received interferon β-1a similar to control group in addition to atorvastatin (40 mg/day) for 18-months. All clinical and immunological variables were measured at the baseline and at the end of the study. Results: There was no significant difference between the two groups in the expanded disability status scale scores and the number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions during the 18-month treatment period. After 18 months, the levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, transforming growth factor-β and serum ferric reducing antioxidant power in the atorvastatin treatment group were significantly higher than the control group. Levels of IL-17, TNF-α and lymphocyte proliferation in the atorvastatin treatment group were significantly lower than the control group. Conclusion: Although combined atorvastatin and interferon-β do not change the clinical course of MS, atorvastatin might have beneficial effects in MS treatment possibly through inducing anti-inflammatory responses.