• Statins;
  • Hepatotoxicity;
  • ROS Formation;
  • Oxidative Stress;
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Potential;
  • Gutathione


Statins are potent drugs, used as lipid-lowering agents in cardiovascular diseases. Hepatotoxicity is one of the serious adverse effects of statins, and the exact mechanism of hepatotoxicity is not yet clear. In this study, the cytotoxic effects of the most commonly used statins, that is, atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin toward isolated rat hepatocytes, were evaluated. Markers, such as cell death, reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial membrane potential, and the amount of reduced and oxidized glutathione in the statin-treated hepatocytes, were investigated. It was found that the statins caused cytotoxicity toward rat hepatocytes dose dependently. An elevation in ROS formation, accompanied by a significant amount of lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial depolarization, was observed. Cellular glutathione reservoirs were decreased, and a significant amount of oxidized glutathione was formed. This study suggests that the adverse effect of statins toward hepatocytes is mediated through oxidative stress and the hepatocytes mitochondria play an important role in the statin-induced toxicity. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J BiochemMol Toxicol 27:287-294, 2013; View this article online at DOI 10.1002/jbt.21485