Statins or sunshine?


After an organ transplant, the patient's immune system has to be immobilised for the rest of his life to prevent the transplanted organ or tissue from being rejected.

In heart transplant patients who were given Pravastatin, "a reduction in the rate of rejection of heart transplants and an increase in overall survival was noted, irrespective of CHD status."[1]

The same pattern was seen in recipients of kidney transplants.[2]

So what is going on here?

The question this time is easier to explain: Low cholesterol compromises the immune system. So this one is connected to cholesterol-lowering.

But note that this example provides strong evidence that statins prevent vitamin D from strengthening the immune system. That could have unfortunate consequences in anyone who needs a strong immune system. And that is everyone except a transplant patient!


1. Kobashigawa JA, Katznelson S, Laks H, et al. Effect of pravastatin on outcomes after cardiac transplantation. N Engl J Med 1995; 333: 621-27.
2. Katznelson S, Wilkinson AH, Kobashigawa JA, et al. The effect of pravastatin on acute rejection after kidney transplantation: a pilot study. Transplantation 1996; 61: 1469-74.

Back to Statins, Part 5
Go to Sunshine and: Cancer, diabetes, transplants, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, coronary heart disease

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Last updated: December 9, 2011