J. Neurochem. (2012) 122, 233–243.
Protective effects of statins have been well documented for stroke therapy. Here, we used a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess these evidences. We identified 190 studies using statin treatment in stroke animal models by electronic searching. From those, only studies describing ischemic occlusive stroke and reporting data on infarct volume and/or neurological outcome were included in the analysis (41 publications, 1882 animals). The global estimate effect was assessed by Weighted Mean Difference meta-analysis. Statins reduced infarct volume by 25.12% (20.66%–29.58%, P < 0.001) and consistently, induced an improvement on neurological outcome (20.36% (14.17%–26.56%), P < 0.001). Stratified analysis showed that simvastatin had the greatest effect on infarct volume reduction (38.18%) and neurological improvement (22.94%), whereas bigger infarct reduction was observed giving the statin as a pre-treatment (33.5%) compared with post-treatment (16.02%). The use of pentobarbital sodium, the timing of statin administration, the statement of conflict of interest and the type of statin studied were found to be independent factors in the meta-regression, indicating their influence on the results of studies examining statin treatment. In conclusion, this meta-analysis provides further evidences of the efficacy of statins, supporting their potential use for human stroke therapy.