Fluvastatin does not prevent the acute-phase response to intravenous zoledronic acid in post-menopausal women

Keith Thompson, Fran Keech, David J. McLernon, Kumar Vinod, Robin J May, William G Simpson, Mike J. Rogers, David M Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The acute-phase response (APR) to aminobisphosphonates is triggered by activation of γδ T cells, resulting in pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Statins prevent aminobisphosphonate-induced γδ T cell activation in vitro, raising the possibility that statins might prevent the APR in vivo. The objective of this study was to determine whether fluvastatin prevents the APR to zoledronic acid in post-menopausal women. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 60 healthy, post-menopausal, female volunteers (mean age 60.6 ± 4.0). Volunteers received 5 mg zoledronic acid by intravenous infusion, and either three times 40 mg fluvastatin (0 hr, 24 hr and 48 hr), 40 mg fluvastatin (0 hr) plus placebo (24 hr and 48 hr), or placebo (0 hr, 24 hr and 48 hr), orally. Post-infusion symptoms were assessed by questionnaire. Changes in γδ T cell levels, pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNFα, IFNγ, IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured in peripheral blood at various time-points post-infusion. Zoledronic acid administration triggered increased serum levels of TNFα, IFNγ, IL-6 and CRP in ≥ 70% of study volunteers, whilst characteristic APR symptoms were observed in > 50% of participants. Zoledronic acid also induced a transient fall in circulating Vγ9Vδ2 T cell levels at 48 hr, consistent with Vγ9Vδ2 T cell activation. Concurrent fluvastatin administration did not prevent zoledronic acid-induced cytokine release, alter circulating Vγ9Vδ2 T cell levels, nor diminish the frequency or severity of APR symptoms. In conclusion, intravenous zoledronic acid induced pro-inflammatory cytokine release and APR symptoms in the majority of study participants, which was not prevented by co-administration of fluvastatin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Early online date31 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Zoledronic acid
  • Gamma
  • delta T cell
  • Fluvastatin
  • Acute-phase response
  • Bisphosphonates


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