Cholesterol-lowering drug boosts bone repair

Jul 31, 2008

Lovastatin, a drug used to lower cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular disease, has been shown to improve bone healing in an animal model of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The research, reported today in the open access journal BMC Medicine, will be of great interest to NF1 patients and their physicians.

Many NF1 patients suffer from bowing, spontaneous fractures and pseudarthrosis (incomplete healing) of the tibias (shinbones). Mateusz Kolanczyk from Stefan Mundlos' laboratory in the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, led a team that investigated lovastatin's ability to prevent pseudarthrosis in a new animal model of human NF1 disease.

Current therapies are often futile when applied to pseudarthrosis of the tibia; in some cases, amputation is the only option. To better understand this problem, Kolanczyk and his colleagues developed this mouse model. He said, "In our model, the mice showed tibial bowing similar to that observed in NF1 patients, however since mouse legs are not subjected to the same excessive mechanical forces as humans, we also applied a bone injury model". The authors drilled a 0.5mm hole in the tibia of anaesthetised mice. As they describe, "This enables analysis of the complex process of bone repair while at the same time causing the least possible distress to the animals".

The process of bone repair was examined 7, 14 and 28 days post-injury. The authors found that the mice given the statin treatment had marked improvements in bone healing compared to the control animals. As they report, "Lovastatin appears to accelerate cortical bone repair primarily by enhancing new bone formation within the bone marrow cavity and by replacing fibro-cartilaginous tissue in the injury site with mineralised bone matrix".

Kolanczyk concludes, "Our results suggest the usefulness of lovastatin, a drug approved in 1987 for the treatment of high cholesterol, in the treatment of neurofibromatosis-related fracture healing abnormalities". The experimental model presented here constitutes a valuable tool for the preclinical testing of other candidate drugs that target similar bone problems.

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: New treatment approved for rare form of hemophilia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

WHO: Millions of Ebola vaccine doses ready in 2015

10 hours ago

The World Health Organization says millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines will start being tested in March.

Added benefit of vedolizumab is not proven

Oct 23, 2014

Vedolizumab (trade name Entyvio) has been approved since May 2014 for patients with moderately to severely active Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis. In an early benefit assessment pursuant to the Act on the Reform of the ...

Seaweed menace may yield new medicines

Oct 22, 2014

An invasive seaweed clogging up British coasts could be a blessing in disguise. University of Greenwich scientists have won a cash award to turn it into valuable compounds which can lead to new, life-saving drugs.

User comments : 0