Muscle pain and energy-rich blood: Cholesterol medicine affects the organs differently

October 29, 2020

600,000 Danes take medicine containing statins. Statins lower the cholesterol level and thus helps prevent cardiovascular disease and blood clots. But there is a different side to the coin.

Treatment with statins may also have negative side effects, some of which are so severe that people suffering from elevated cholesterol choose to stop treatment. One of the main side effects is muscle pain, also called myalgia, which may lead to reduced quality of life, pain and inactivity due to the pain.

Statin inhibits the production of cholesterol in the cell, but it also inhibits an important element in the energy production in the cells' mitochondria. Mitochondria are small, energy-producing organelles found in almost all cells in the body. Statins are suspected of lowering the energy level in the cells, thus causing myalgia in muscle cells.

The researchers therefore wished to determine whether statins also inhibited the energy production in blood cell mitochondria. And research from the Center for Healthy Aging at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences now shows that statins do not have the expected effect.

'We can see that long-term treatment with statins at the recommended dose increases the blood cells' ability to produce energy. These are surprising results. We had expected statins to behave the same way that they do in muscle cells, but in fact they do the exact opposite here', says Executive Director and Professor at the Center for Healthy Aging Lene Juel Rasmussen.

Statins Do Both Good and Bad

Even though the surprising results challenge the theory that statins lower the energy level, this does not necessarily mean that statins do not have adverse effects on some organs.

Because the results say nothing about whether the statins are responsible for affecting the energy level or it is the body that does that to compensate for the change caused by the statins.

'Statins are quite mysterious, as they can have both positive and negative consequences depending on the part of the body', says Lene Juel Rasmussen.

'Our results show an increase in the energy level in the blood cells, but whether that is good or bad, we cannot say. It can either mean that the statins improve the blood cells' ability to produce energy, which would be a good thing, or that the statins do damage and that the body consequently raises the energy level to mend that damage', she explains.

Different Effects on Different Parts of the Body

Even though the mechanism behind statins' effect on the blood remains unknown, the new results provide brand new insight into the effect of statins: Contrary to expectation, statins behave differently in different parts of the body.

'Previous studies suggest that statins have a potentially beneficial effect on some forms of cancer and possibly also on some forms of dementia. If we are able to produce new knowledge on the effect of statins on various parts of the body, we can use this knowledge to design drugs based on the beneficial effects. If statins have a positive effect on the brain, for example, we can focus on using them in the design of drugs for dementia', Lene Juel Rasmussen explains.
-end-


University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Related Cholesterol Articles from Brightsurf:

Cholesterol's effects on cellular membranes
The findings have far-reaching implications in the general understanding of disease, the design of drug delivery methods, and many other biological applications that require specific assumptions about the role of cholesterol in cell membranes.

Autism-cholesterol link
Study identifies genetic link between cholesterol alterations and autism.

Microbes might manage your cholesterol
Researchers discover a link between human blood cholesterol levels and a gene in the microbiome that could one day help people manage their cholesterol through diet, probiotics, or entirely new types of treatment.

Experimental cholesterol-lowering drug effective at lowering bad cholesterol, study shows
Twice-yearly injections of an experimental cholesterol-lowering drug, inclisiran, were effective at reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often called bad cholesterol, in patients already taking the maximum dose of statin drugs, according to data of the ORION-10 trial presented Saturday, Nov.

Rethinking how cholesterol is integrated into cells
Cholesterol is best known in connection with cardiovascular disease, but cholesterol is also vital for many fundamental processes in the body.

Seed oils are best for LDL cholesterol
Using a statistical technique called network meta-analysis, researchers have combined the results of dozens of studies of dietary oils to identify those with the best effect on patients' LDL cholesterol and other blood lipids.

Cholesterol leash: Key tethering protein found to transport cellular cholesterol
Cholesterol is an essential component of living organisms, but the mechanisms that transport cholesterol inside the cell are poorly understood.

New way to treat cholesterol may be on the horizon
A breakthrough discovery by scientists at Houston Methodist Research Institute could change the way we treat cholesterol.

How low should LDL cholesterol go?
New analysis shows that in a high-risk population, achieving ultra-low LDL cholesterol levels, down to <10 mg/dL, safely results in additional lowering of risk of cardiovascular events.

Does boosting 'good' cholesterol really improve your health?
A new review addresses the mysteries behind 'good' HDL cholesterol and why boosting its levels does not necessarily provide protection from cardiovascular risk for patients.

Read More: Cholesterol News and Cholesterol Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.