Simvastatin cream alleviates dermal fibrosis in a rabbit ear hypertrophic scar model

David Dolivo, Adrian Rodrigues, Lauren Sun, Chun Hou, Yingxing Li, Eugene Chung, Kai Leung, Robert Galiano, Thomas Mustoe, Seok Jong Hong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Hypertrophic scars (HTS) result from injury to the skin and represent a clinical burden with limited treatment options. Previously, we demonstrated that statin drugs could attenuate HTS formation, but convenient topical delivery and retention of these drugs at the wound site remains a challenge. Aims: Here, we aimed to develop a topical cream formulation that can deliver statin drugs simply and conveniently to reduce scar hypertrophy. Methods: We formulated creams containing 10% pravastatin, 2% simvastatin, and 10% simvastatin. We tested these creams for their ability to reduce scar hypertrophy and attenuate dermal fibrosis in a clinically relevant HTS wound model performed in rabbit ear skin. We also monitored trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) over the course of wound healing in order to understand the effects of statin treatment on epidermal barrier recovery. Results: Of the three creams formulated, only application of 10% simvastatin cream significantly attenuated hypertrophy of resultant scars compared with vehicle cream application. Application of 10% simvastatin cream resulted in a decrease in macrophage and myofibroblast density at post-operative day 28 (POD28) harvest. Application of 10% simvastatin cream resulted in visible symptoms of dryness and increased TEWL at POD28, but subsequent withdrawal of statin cream treatment resulted in rapid alleviation of dryness and decrease in TEWL back to normal levels. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that topical administration of 10% simvastatin cream antagonizes dermal fibrosis and reduces hypertrophy in an HTS model, and withdrawal of the cream enables recovery of epidermal barrier and resolution of skin dryness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-541
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cosmetic Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • fibrosis
  • hypertrophic scar
  • simvastatin
  • topical treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Simvastatin cream alleviates dermal fibrosis in a rabbit ear hypertrophic scar model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this