The Protective Effects of Simvastatin on Muscle in a Rat Model of Chronic Rotator Cuff Injury
Korn, Michael A.
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Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain and discomfort, and often result in limited range of motion. Chronic tears are associated with muscle atrophy and infiltration of fat, known as “fatty degeneration.” Simvastatin is a drug that has demonstrated the ability to prevent lipid accumulation in certain injured tissues. We hypothesized that administering simvastatin would reduce fatty degeneration following rotator cuff tear. To test this hypothesis, we performed a full-thickness supraspinatus tenectomy on rats and administered either vehicle or simvastatin for four weeks. Compared to controls, simvastatin treatment increased muscle fiber specific force by 19% and decreased visible fat around fibers. Expression of several genes associated with fat accumulation, inflammation, macrophage accumulation, and extracellular matrix fibrosis was significantly decreased. Simvastatin also reduced the percent of pathological type IIB muscle fibers by 39%. These results suggest that simvastatin can protect muscles from the development of fatty degeneration, and may be useful in the clinical treatment of chronic muscle injuries and tears.