Atrogin breaks down the side effects of statins

November 08, 2007

Statins are a popular class of drugs used to successfully combat high cholesterol. However, the rare, but serious, and poorly understood side effect of skeletal muscle breakdown (a process known as atrophy) prevents more prevalent use of these drugs. New insight into the mechanism of statin-induced skeletal muscle atrophy has been provided by reserachers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.

In this study, the authors focused on the activity of atrogin-1, a gene highly associated with skeletal muscle atrophy. Following treatment with lovastatin, a commonly prescribed statin, atrogin-1 was induced in cultured mouse muscle cells and in zebrafish embryos. Furthermore, statin-induced muscle injury in the zebrafish was prevented by reducing the amount of atrogin-1 expressed. Finally, when the protein PGC-1a (which protects against skeletal muscle damage and atrophy) was expressed in zebrafish, both atrogin-1 expression and lovastatin-induced muscle damage were prevented. These data led the authors to conclude that atrogin-1 is a critical mediator of statin-induced muscle damage and that inhibiting atrogin-1 function might protect against this unwanted side effect of statins.
TITLE: The muscle-specific ubiquitin ligase atrogin-1/MAFbx mediates statin-induced muscle toxicity

Stewart H. Lecker,
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Phone: (617) 667-2147; Fax: (617) 667-5276; E-mail:

Vikas P. Sukhatme
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Phone: (617) 667-2147; Fax: (617) 667-5276; E-mail:

View the PDF of this article at:

JCI Journals

Related Statins Articles from Brightsurf:

Being in treatment with statins reduces COVID-19 mortality by 22% to 25%
A research by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and Pere Virgili Institut (IISPV) led by LluĂ­s Masana has found that people who are being treated with statins have a 22% to 25% lower risk of dying from COVID-19.

Twitter data research reveals more about what patients think about statins
More than one in seven people taking statins -- prescribed to lower cholesterol levels -- believed that meant they could still eat unhealthy foods, a new study shows.

Statins starve cancer cells to death
More than 35 million Americans take statin drugs daily to lower their blood cholesterol levels.

Statins linked to higher diabetes risk
Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering statins may be at higher risk for developing high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Statins could protect against motor neurone disease
High cholesterol has been found to be a possible risk factor for the development of motor neurone disease (MND), according to a large study of genetic data led in the UK by Queen Mary University of London, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health in the USA.

Statins are more effective for those who follow the Mediterranean diet
For those who have already had a heart attack or a stroke, the combination of statins and Mediterranean Diet appears to be the most effective choice to reduce the risk of mortality, especially from cardiovascular causes.

Statins have low risk of side effects
Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are associated with a low risk of side effects.

Statins overprescribed for primary prevention
Taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins, as a preventive measure can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Many older adults do not take prescribed statins properly
In a British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study of older adults prescribed statins, first-year nonadherence and discontinuation rates were high.

Statins show little promise for conditions other than heart disease
Medicines commonly prescribed to reduce people's risk of heart attack may have limited use for treating other diseases, research suggests.

Read More: Statins News and Statins Current Events 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