Introduction: There are no randomised control trials of statin therapy in patients with severe bronchiectasis, chronically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Methods: 32 patients chronically infected with P. aeruginosa were recruited in this double blind cross over RCT. 16 patients were recruited in each arm, given atorvastatin 80mg or placebo for 3months, followed by a washout period for 6weeks, crossed over and administered the alternative therapy for 3months.
Results: 27 patients completed the study. Atorvastatin did not significantly improve the primary endpoint of cough as measured by Leicester Cough Questionnaire [mean difference=1.92, 95% CI for difference (-0.57, 4.41), p=0.12]. However, atorvastatin treatment resulted in improved St Georges Respiratory Questionnaire (-5.62points, p=0.016), reduced serum CXCL8 (p=0.04), TNF (p=0.01) and ICAM1 (p=0.04). There was a trend towards improvement in serum CRP and serum neutrophil counts (p=0.07 and p=0.06 respectively). In vitro, we demonstrated that atorvastatin 10μM reduced fMLF induced upregulation of CD11b expression and changes in calcium flux reflecting an ability to decrease neutrophil activation.
Conclusion: We demonstrated that atorvastatin reduced systemic inflammation and improved quality of life in bronchiectasis patients infected with P. aeruginosa. These effects may be due to an ability of atorvastatin to modulate neutrophil activation.