The AKT/mTOR signaling pathway plays a key role in statin-induced myotoxicity.Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Aug; 1853(8):1841-9.BB
Statins are drugs that lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. They are generally well-tolerated, but myopathy is a potentially severe adverse reaction of these compounds. The mechanisms by which statins induce myotoxicity are not completely understood, but may be related to inhibition of the AKT signaling pathway. The current studies were performed to explore the down-stream effects of the statin-associated inhibition of AKT within the AKT signaling pathway and on myocyte biology and morphology in C2C12 myotubes and in mice in vivo. We exposed C2C12 myotubes to 10 μM or 50 μM simvastatin, atorvastatin or rosuvastatin for 24 h. Simvastatin and atorvastatin inhibited AKT phosphorylation and were cytotoxic starting at 10 μM, whereas similar effects were observed for rosuvastatin at 50 μM. Inhibition of AKT phosphorylation was associated with impaired phosphorylation of S6 kinase, ribosomal protein S6, 4E-binding protein 1 and FoxO3a, resulting in reduced protein synthesis, accelerated myofibrillar degradation and atrophy of C2C12 myotubes. Furthermore, impaired AKT phosphorylation was associated with activation of caspases and PARP, reflecting induction of apoptosis. Similar findings were detected in skeletal muscle of mice treated orally with 5 mg/kg/day simvastatin for 3 weeks. In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of the AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in statin-induced myotoxicity and reveals potential drug targets for treatment of patients with statin-associated myopathies.