Statins may aggravate myasthenia gravis

Department of Neurology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.
Muscle & Nerve (Impact Factor: 2.28). 09/2008; 38(3):1101-7. DOI: 10.1002/mus.21074
Source: PubMed


Statin-induced myopathy is well-known, but the effect of cholesterol-lowering agents on myasthenia gravis (MG) has not been studied in detail. We investigated statin use and its effects on MG among patients with this disease. Statin information was systemically obtained from 170 patients being treated at the Neuromuscular Disease Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When a new myalgic syndrome or worsening of MG developed within 4 months after statin treatment, no other likely cause was found, and clinical improvement occurred either with or without discontinuation of the statin, we considered these symptoms to be statin-induced. Fifty-four patients (31%) were on statins. The statin group had proportionally more males, and older patients compared with the non-statin group. A myalgic syndrome was noted in 7 (13%) patients, but it resolved without any sequelae after withdrawal of the statin. MG worsening occurred in 6 (11%) patients without regard to type of MG or brand of statin. MG worsening occurred independently of myalgic syndrome and involved predominantly oculobulbar symptoms within 1-16 weeks of statin treatment. In 4 patients, additional treatment was needed to reverse MG worsening. Statins are safe in the majority of MG patients, but their use must be accompanied by close observation for possible MG worsening.

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    • "Accumulating evidence has shown that statins exhibit antiinflammation and immunomodulatory properties in some autoimmune diseases (Greenwood et al., 2006). However, some groups report statins induce or worsen MG(Gale and Danesh-Meyer, 2014; Oh et al., 2008). The underlying mechanisms remain debated. "
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    ABSTRACT: We previously demonstrated that atorvastatin induced immature dendritic cells (DCs) derived from spleen in vitro. Administration of these tolerogenic DCs led to amelioration of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). The protective effect was mainly mediated by inhibited cellular immune response, including up-regulated regulatory T cells and shifted Th1/Th17 to Th2 cytokines. The present study employed atorvastatin-modified bone marrow-derived DCs (AT-BMDCs) to explore the effect of tolerogenic DCs on humoral immune response of EAMG and further elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Our data showed that AT-BMDCs reduced the quantity and the relative affinity of pathogenic antibodies, suppressed germinal center response, decreased follicular helper T cells and IL-21, and increased regulatory B cells. These results suggest that AT-BMDCs ameliorate EAMG by regulating humoral immune response, thus providing new insights into therapeutic approaches of myasthenia gravis and other autoimmune diseases. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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    • ". Several case reports and one retrospective study [110] suggest that statins may aggravate myasthenia gravis by increasing the titer of anti-acetylcholine receptor autoantibodies. The detrimental effect of statins was observed in 11% of myasthenic patients treated with these drugs and appeared within 4 months since initiation of therapy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Statins inhibit 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutarylcoenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis, which converts HMG-CoA to mevalonate. Statins lower plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by causing intracellular cholesterol depletion and upregulating the expression of LDL receptors. Apart from cholesterol, mevalonate is also the substrate for the synthesis of nonsteroid isoprenoids including farnesylpyrophosphate, geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (both attached to small GTP-binding proteins by protein prenyltransferases), coenzyme Q, dolichol, isopentenyladenosine, etc. Depletion of these isoprenoids results in so called "pleiotropic" effects of statins which are independent of cholesterol lowering. Although statins are generally well-tolerated, adverse effects may occur in some patients. These effects result from impaired protein prenylation, deficiency of coenzyme Q involved in mitochondrial electron transport and antioxidant protection, abnormal protein glycosylation due to dolichol shortage, or deficiency of selenoproteins. Myopathy is the most frequent side effect of statins and in some cases may have a form of severe rhabdomyolysis. Less common adverse effects include hepatotoxicity, peripheral neuropathy, impaired myocardial contractility and autoimmune diseases. The risk of these unfavorable effects is largely outweighed by great reduction of cardiovascular events in statin users. However, due to increasing number of patients taking statins, monitoring for any side effects, intense research to recognize their mechanisms and to identify susceptible patients, as well as rational management of these complications are mandatory to further improve safety of these excellent drugs.
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    ABSTRACT: A b s t r a c t Current guidelines encourage ambitious long term cholesterol lowering with statins, in order to decrease cardiovascular disease events. However, by regulating the biosynthesis of cholesterol we potentially change the form and function of every cell membrane from the head to the toe. As research into cell morphology and membrane function realises more dependencies upon cholesterol rich lipid membranes, our clinical understanding of long term inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis is also changing. This review of non-cardiovascular research concerning such membrane effects raises important new issues concerning the clinical advantages and disadvantages of the long term use, and broadening criteria, of cholesterol reductions. K Ke ey y w wo or rd ds s: : cholesterol, exocytosis, lipid, membrane, statin.
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