Statins, best known for their lipid-lowering actions, also possess immunomodulatory properties. Recent studies have shown a Th2-biasing effect of statins, although the underlying mechanism has not been identified. In this study, we investigated whether simvastatin can exercise a Th2-promoting effect through modulation of function of dendritic cells (DCs) without direct interaction with CD4+ T cells. Exposure of DCs to simvastatin induced the differentiation of a distinct subset of DCs characterized by a high expression of B220. These simvastatin-conditioned DCs up-regulated GATA-3 expression and down-regulated T-bet expression in cocultured CD4+ T cells in the absence of additional simvastatin added to the coculture. The Th2-biased transcription factor profile induced by simvastatin-treated DCs also was accompanied by increased Th2 (IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13) and decreased Th1 (IFN-γ) cytokine secretion from the T cells. The Th2-promoting effect of simvastatin was found to depend on the chitinase family member Ym1, known to be a lectin. Anti-Ym1 antibody abolished the Th2-promoting effect of simvastatin-treated DCs. Also, simvastatin was unable to augment Ym1 expression in DCs developed from STAT61-/- or IL-4Rα-/- mice. Thus, modulation of Ym1 production by DCs identifies a previously undescribed mechanism of Th2 polarization by statin.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - May 16 2006|
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