Christine Oyugi, BSc
Assistant Managing Editor,
Geriatrics & Aging
Statins are the most effective agents for lowering plasma levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) that are currently available and are the mainstay therapy for the treatment of hyperlipidemia. The drugs are the most commonly prescribed agents for this condition because of their efficacy in reducing LDL, their safety, and their excellent tolerability. Recently, several studies have found that statins also have anabolic effects on bone and may substantially reduce the risk of fractures.1
Mundy et al. were the first to discover the bone anabolic properties of statins.2 Prompted by the observation that bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP2) causes osteoblasts to proliferate, mature, and form new bone, the researchers screened a library of 30,000 natural compounds to find potential bone strengthening drugs. The study showed that lovastatin (a fungal metabolite); fluvastatin, simvastatin and mevastatin specifically activated the BMP-2 promoter. The researchers also found that oral administration of statins (simvastatin or lovastatin) to rats increased the volume of trabecular bone and the rate of bone formation even in ovariectomized mice.