Reports indicate that statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs), in addition to lowering cholesterol, have an immunomodulatory effect. This effect may be beneficial for the treatment of several diseases, including periodontal disease. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the immunomodulatory effect of an atorvastatin-medicated dentifrice on CD4+ T cell proliferation. CD4+ T cell proliferation assays and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) viability assays were conducted on PBMCs from healthy donors cultured under the following conditions: control, atorvastatin solution, atorvastatin-medicated dentifrice, and dentifrice without atorvastatin at concentrations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 μM. A Generalized Equation Estimation (GEE) model was used to analyze concentration versus proliferation and concentration versus percentage of dead cells within each group evaluated. Atorvastatin-medicated dentifrice (p-value <0.0001) and atorvastatin solution (p-value <0.0001) significantly inhibited CD4+ T cell proliferation in a dose- dependent manner compared with the dentifrice without atorvastatin and control conditions. Only the relationship between atorvastatin solution and percentage of dead cells was significant compared to the other conditions (p-value 0.019). The results revealed that atorvastatin- medicated dentifrice at concentrations of 1 to 100 μM had immunomodulatory effects, inhibiting CD4+ T cell proliferation without affecting PBMC viability. The other components of the dentifrice did not affect CD4+ T cell proliferation or cell viability, indicating its utility as a vehicle to achieve the desired effects of atorvastatin in periodontal tissue. Controlled clinical trials are still needed to evaluate the clinical effects of an atorvastatin-medicated dentifrice on the periodontium.
KEY WORDS: Atorvastatin calcium; Dentifrices; T cells; Flow cytometry.