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CoQ10 supports reversal of statin-caused mitochondrial dysfunction, energy drain

  [ 19 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • August 11, 2012

Coenzyme Q10 reverses mitochondrial dysfunction in atorvastatin-treated mice and increases exercise endurance
- Source: Journal of Applied Physiology, May 31, 2012

By A Muraki, K Miyashita, et al.

[Note: Atorvastatin, aka Lipitor, is a lipophilic statin, meaning it dissolves in & is attracted to lipids (fats). Prevastatin, aka Pravachol, is a hydrophilic statin, meaning it dissolves in water, and so is believed to have less muscle penetration than lipophilic statins.]

Background: Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs widely used in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases; however, they are associated with various types of myopathies.

Statins inhibit HMG-CoA reductase and thus decrease biosynthesis of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and may also reduce ubiquinones, essential coenzymes of a mitochondrial electron transport chain, which contain isoprenoid residues, synthesized through an HMG-CoA reductase-dependent pathway.

Therefore, we hypothesized that statin treatment might influence physical performance:

• Through muscular mitochondrial dysfunction

• Due to ubiquinone deficiency.

Methods and Results:

The effect of two statins, atorvastatin and pravastatin, on ubiquinone content, mitochondrial function and physical performance was examined by using statin-treated mice.

Changes in energy metabolism in association with statin-treatment were studied by using cultured myocytes.

We found that atorvastatin-treated mice developed:

• Muscular mitochondrial dysfunction due to ubiquinone deficiency,

• And a decrease in exercise endurance,

• Without affecting muscle mass and strength.

Meanwhile, pravastatin at 10 times higher dose [than] atorvastatin had no such effects.

In cultured myocytes, atorvastatin-related decrease in mitochondrial activity led to:

• A decrease in oxygen utilization

• And an increase in lactate production.

Conversely, coenzyme Q10 treatment in atorvastatin-treated mice:

• Reversed atorvastatin-related mitochondrial dysfunction

• And a decrease in oxygen utilization,

• And thus improved exercise endurance.


Atorvastatin decreased exercise endurance in mice through mitochondrial dysfunction due to ubiquinone deficiency.

Ubiquinone supplementation with coenzyme Q10 could reverse atorvastatin-related mitochondrial dysfunction and decrease in exercise tolerance.

Source: Journal of Applied Physiology, May 31, 2012. DOI:10.1152/japplphysiol.01362 by Muraki A, Miyashita K, Mitsuishi M, Tamaki M, Tanaka K, Itoh H. Keio University School of Medicine, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. [Email:]

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