Anti-inflammatory drug may prevent rapid aging in people with HIV

Research from the University of Alberta indicates that a common cholesterol-lowering drug could help people with HIV live longer. The study shows that the anti-inflammatory drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) may prevent rapid aging associated with the disease.

HIV-infected individuals have much higher levels of inflammation within their body than uninfected people do, despite the antiretroviral therapy.

“Our study shows that cholesterol-lowering medication can reduce inflammation and makes CD4 T cells (HIV target cells) less permissible to HIV infection,” says Shokrollah Elahi, lead author of the study and immunologist at the School of Dentistry.

Because HIV infection also causes lipid abnormalities such as high cholesterol levels in patients, patients could benefit from atorvastatin, the most commonly used cholesterol-lowering medication.

The study shows that atorvastatin, reduces immune activation, thereby diminishing the systemic inflammation that leads to premature or accelerated aging.

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