Abstract Title:

Decreased ubiquinone availability and impaired mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase activity associated with statin treatment.

Abstract Source:

Toxicol Mech Methods. 2009 Jan;19(1):44-50. PMID: 19778232

Abstract Author(s):

Andrew J Duncan, Iain P Hargreaves, Maxwell S Damian, John M Land, Simon J R Heales

Article Affiliation:

Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, London WC1N 1BG, UK.


In order to investigate the potential involvement of mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction in myotoxicity associated with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor (statin) treatment, assessment was made of ETC activity and ubiquinone status in two patients experiencing myopathy following treatment with simvastatin (40 mg/day) and cyclosporin (patient 1) and simvastatin (40 mg/day) and itraconazole (patient 2). Analysis of skeletal muscle biopsies revealed a decreased ubiquinone status (77 and 132; reference range: 140-580 pmol/mg) and cytochrome oxidase (complex IV) activity (0.006 and 0.007 reference range: 0.014-0.034). To assess statin treatment in the absence of possible pharmacological interference from cyclosporin or itraconazole, primary astrocytes were cultured with lovastatin (100 microM). Lovastatin treatment resulted in a decrease in ubiquinone (97.9 +/- 14.9; control: 202.9 +/- 18.4 pmol/mg; p<0.05), and complex IV activity (0.008 +/- 0.001; control: 0.011 +/- 0.001; p<0.05) relative to control. These data, coupled with the patient findings, indicate a possible association between statin treatment, decreased ubiquinone status, and loss of complex IV activity.

Study Type : Human Study

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