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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Nov;87(22):8928-30.

Lovastatin decreases coenzyme Q levels in rats.

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Division of Graduate Nutrition, University of Texas, Austin 78712.


Lovastatin is used for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. It functions by inhibiting the enzyme, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (EC, that is required for the conversion of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A to mevalonic acid. Since biosynthesis of both cholesterol and coenzyme Q (CoQ) requires mevalonic acid as a precursor, it was considered that lovastatin therapy would also result in a lowering of cellular CoQ levels. This study was conducted to determine whether lovastatin treatment does decrease CoQ levels and whether such decreases can be prevented by CoQ supplementation. Forty-five adult male Holtzman rats were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. Controls were fed ground laboratory rat chow ad libitum. The other two groups were fed ground laboratory rat chow containing 400 mg of lovastatin per kg of diet ad libitum. One of the lovastatin-fed groups received CoQ10 (15 mg per kg of body weight) daily via stomach intubation. After 4 weeks, samples of heart, liver, and blood were analyzed for CoQ concentrations. Results indicated that CoQ concentrations in all tissues analyzed were decreased in lovastatin-treated rats. Lovastatin-treated animals that were supplemented with CoQ10 had blood, heart, and liver CoQ10 concentrations that approximated or exceeded those of control animals. It is concluded that lovastatin does indeed lower tissue concentrations of CoQ and that a return to normal can be achieved by supplementation with CoQ.

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