Distribution of lovastatin to bone and its effect on bone turnover in rats


Division of Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow-226 001, India. E-mail: girishkumar_jain@yahoo.co.in CDRI communication number 6881


Statins, the widely used lipid-lowering drugs, are inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, which catalyses a rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Many previous reports show that statins can act both as bone anabolic and as anti-resorptive agents but their beneficial effects on bone turnover are still controversial. Considering their high liver specificity and low oral bioavailability, the distribution of statins to the bone microenvironment is questionable. In this study, the distribution of lovastatin and its active metabolites to bone, with respect to plasma and liver compartments, was examined after oral and intravenous administration in female rats. As compared with oral administration, the distribution of lovastatin to the bone compartment was significantly enhanced after intravenous administration. Further, the effect of lovastatin on bone turnover was studied in-vitro and in-vivo to assess its anti-osteoporotic potential. Lovastatin acid but not lovastatin was found to inhibit parathyroid-hormone-induced bone resorption in an in-vitro chick embryo bone assay. Oral, as well as intravenous, short-term lovastatin treatment significantly reduced the serum total cholesterol, serum total alkaline phosphatase and urinary crosslinks in ovariectomized rats. In accordance with its increased distribution to the bone compartment, intravenously administered lovastatin was more effective in reducing the ovariectomy-induced increase in markers of bone metabolism, especially urinary crosslinks. The findings of this study suggest that statins inhibit bone resorption and that their anti-resorptive efficacy can be increased by administering them by routes other than oral so as to achieve their enhanced concentration in bone.