We know statins cut "bad" cholesterol. We know they also have other protective effects on the heart. Now, a Cambridge University study has found that the drugs boost cell function in the lining of coronary arteries. And these cells do several important jobs, including keeping the arteries clear of fatty plaques.
Apparently, cell division in patients with heart disease accelerates greatly, potentially leading to DNA damage and loss of function. The cells aren't as effective at clearing the arterial walls. The study found that statins increase the levels of a protein called NBS-1, which is involved in DNA repair within cells. Keeping that DNA in working order then helps the cells continue to do their work.
Might the protective effects in these particular cells extend also to other tissues? "If statins can do this to other cells," the lead researcher said, "they may protect normal tissues from DNA damage that occurs as part of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer, potentially reducing the side effects."
- read the BBC article