Faculty of Biological Sciences

Research Bulletin

FBS team shows how statins can directly affect the cardiac muscle cell

16th October 2014

New article published in PLOS ONE by Dr Sarah Calaghan and co-workers.

FBS team shows how statins can directly affect the cardiac muscle celltitle=

Sarah Calaghan’s team (Cardiovascular and Sport Sciences) in collaboration with Karen Porter (Faculty of Medicine and Health) and Robert Harvey (University of Nevada Reno) have published a new study 'Caveolin contributes to the modulation of basal and β-adrenoceptor stimulated function of the adult rat ventricular myocyte by simvastatin: a novel pleiotropic effect' which looks at effects of statins on the heart. Because the guidelines for statin prescription are changing across the globe, the media spotlight is on the many actions of statins within the body. This work addresses a neglected area of research – the way that statins directly affect the cardiac muscle cell (myocyte) – and uses an approach which allows the study of direct effects on the myocyte in the absence of any confounding influences from other cell types. The data show for the first time that statins have the capacity to affect ventricular myocyte contractility and adrenergic responsiveness - effects which are consistent with disruption of small cholesterol-dependent membrane pits (caveolae). On balance, the effects of statins reported in this study should not compromise cardiac function in healthy individuals, but in patients with heart failure, the direct effects of statins on the cardiac myocyte are likely to be of benefit.  Given current interest in statins, this work is very timely. The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation, Heart Research UK and the NIH.

You can link to the article here

Image credit: Tim Munsey

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