In individuals with asthma, statins significantly reduce the in vitro inflammatory response of human monocytes to rhinovirus (RV), the cause of the common cold, according to new research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

Not only does this discovery suggest that statins could help prevent or reduce the severity of asthma symptoms resulting from colds, but may also open the doors to further research into novel ways of controlling asthma attacks.

“Our findings — that statins reduce rhinovirus-induced CXCL10 secretion from human monocytic cells — suggest that these frequently prescribed drugs may affect asthma exacerbations caused by the common cold in adults,” said Lisa E. Wickert, PhD, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisc. “We hope that these findings will provide motivation to study how statins not only affect asthma symptoms but more specifically viral-induced asthma exacerbations.”

“Not only does this report shed light on how colds exacerbate asthma, it also suggests new pathways and existing drugs that might be exploited to limit this, in some cases, severe combination of respiratory events,” added John Wherry, PhD, deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, “These findings also highlight an emerging appreciation for the interaction between metabolic pathways and the immune system.”