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Turning off key piece of genetic coding eliminates toxic effect of statins, SLU research finds
Date:7/9/2012

, high cholesterol diet, in the presence or absence of statins (which induces miR-33). As expected, animals that did not receive statins tolerated the diet with no problems, but those mice that did receive the drug developed liver damage, mimicking the cholestasis found in some human patients.

"To conclusively prove that this was due to the induction of miR-33, we treated the animals with anti-miR-33, and, when we did, their livers recovered," Baldn said. "In effect, miR-33 encourages some of the undesired, hepatotoxic effects of statins and by silencing this signal we were able to avoid these toxic side effects.

"This discovery may ultimately lead to treatment options both for those with BRIC, and more broadly, those who suffer from statin side effects."

The researchers' next step will be to test patients who experienced cholestasis after taking statins to see if they do, indeed, have a particular genetic alteration related to miR-33 signaling.

To sum up, researchers found that:

  • Statins induce miR-33.
  • MiR-33 decreases expression of bile transporters ABCB11 and ATP8B1, which can lead to cholestasis.
  • Silencing the microRNA with anti-miR-33 eliminated the toxic side effects from taking statins in an animal model.


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Contact: Carrie Bebermeyer
bebermcl@slu.edu
314-977-8015
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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