The effect of simvastatin treatment on natural antioxidants in low-density lipoproteins and high-energy phosphates and ubiquinone in skeletal muscle

Am J Cardiol. 1996 Apr 15;77(10):851-4. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9149(97)89180-1.


It has been hypothesized that treating hypercholesterolemic patients with statins will lead not only to a reduction in cholesterol, but also to inhibited synthesis of other compounds which derive from the synthetic pathway of cholesterol. In theory, this could further lead to ubiquinone deficiency in muscle cell mitochondria, disturbing normal cellular respiration and causing adverse effects such as rhabdomyolysis. Furthermore, ubiquinone is one of the lipophilic antioxidants in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and therefore it has also been hypothesized that statin treatment will reduce the antioxidant capacity of LDL. We investigated the effect of 6 months of simvastatin treatment (20 mg/day) on skeletal muscle concentrations of high-energy phosphates and ubiquinone by performing biopsies in 19 hypercholesterolemic patients. Parallel assays were performed in untreated control subjects. The muscle high-energy phosphate and ubiquinone concentrations assayed after simvastatin treatment were similar to those observed at baseline and did not differ from the values obtained in control subjects at the beginning and end of follow-up. These results do not support the hypothesis of diminished isoprenoid synthesis or energy generation in muscle cells during simvastatin treatment. Furthermore, the results of analysis of antioxidant concentrations in LDL before and after simvastatin treatment indicate that the antioxidant capacity of LDL is maintained in simvastatin-treated patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism
  • Lovastatin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lovastatin / pharmacology
  • Lovastatin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Phosphocreatine / metabolism*
  • Simvastatin
  • Ubiquinone / analysis*
  • Ubiquinone / blood


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Phosphocreatine
  • Ubiquinone
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Lovastatin
  • Simvastatin