Neuromuscular diseases: A new application for Statins?
Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, well-known medications for treating Hypercholesterolemia. Simvastatin is a member of this “Statin family” and controls cholesterol and triglycerides blood levels. Simvastin’s main therapeutic application covers the cardiovascular area.
Researchers from the Washington University (1) have recently suggested that Simvastin might be also a valuable therapeutic candidate in neuromuscular diseases. By using an experimental model mimicking Duchenne Muscular dystrophy (DMD), Whitehead et al. have observed that Simvastatin is able to improve muscle health by moderating biological processes involved in muscular decline (i.e. inflammatory reactions, oxidative stress, and fibrosis ). By improving muscular functions (fatigue & strength), the authors hypothetized that Simvastatin (and Statins in general) might be valuable therapeutic approaches in neuromuscular diseases.
Simvastatin (CAS number: 79902-63-9) is a synthetic analog of Lovastatin (CAS number: 75330-75-5). It blocks cholesterol and isoprenoid biosynthesis via inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase. Simvastatin induces apoptosis in various cell lines and causes cell cycle arrest in early G1 phase.
1- Whitehead et al. “A new therapeutic effect of simvastatin revealed by functional improvement in muscular dystrophy” (2015) – PNAS; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1509536112.