, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 269-279
Date: 05 Dec 2009

Molecular mechanisms of toxicity of simvastatin, widely used cholesterol-lowering drug. A review

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Abstract

Statins are widely used and well tolerated cholesterol-lowering drugs, and when used for therapy purposes reduce morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease. Simvastatin is one of nine known statins, specific inhibitors of hepatic enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, the rate-limiting step of cholesterol biosynthesis, and is believed to reduce plasma cholesterol levels by decreasing the activity of this enzyme. Statin drugs represent the major improvement in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia that constitutes the main origin of atherosclerosis, leading to coronary heart disease. Although statins are generally safe, minor and severe adverse reactions are well known complications of statin use. Adverse events associated with simvastatin therapy are uncommon, but potentially serious. In this review some details about statins including their adverse effects in humans and animals, the effects of simvastatin on various intracellular and mitochondrial processes, and molecular mechanisms underlying simvastatin cytotoxicity are discussed.