Objective: Statins are well known to cause myalgia and in very rare cases rhabdomyolysis. It remains to be determined whether statin treatment causes any adverse effects on muscle precluding benefits of exercise. We investigated the impact of statin therapy on exercise capacity, muscle strength, mitochondrial respiration, and gene expression in older adults before and after a 12 week exercise program consisting of either aerobic interval (HIIT), resistance (RT), or combined aerobic and resistance (CT) training.

Design: Participants aged 65 and older reported in a prior exercise study were analyzed to determine the impact of statin use. Anthropometric measurements, muscle strength, exercise tolerance and a muscle biopsy for determination of mitochondrial respiration and gene transcripts (RNA sequence) were obtained at baseline and then repeated after 12 weeks of exercise training.

Results: Among participants, 7 were in CT (2 on statins, 5 not on statins), 8 were in HIIT (4 on statins, 4 not on statins), and 8 were in RT (2 on statins, 6 not on statins) groups. Statin and non-statin users at baseline had no observed significant difference in BMI (p=0.936), VO2 (p=0.812), leg press strength (p=0.916), state 2 respiration (p=0.266), state 3 respiration complex I and II (p=0.345), stage 4 respiration (p=0.231) or gene transcripts of 15232 genes examined. Following 12 week exercise program, no significant differences were noted between statin and non-statin users in their BMI (9=0.149), VO2 (p=0.681), leg press strength (p=0.925), state 2 respiration (p=0.078), state 3 respiration complex 1 and II (p=0.142), or state 4 respiration (p=0.945). Significant differences were noted in gene transcripts in statin and non-statin users in CT+RT group (6 genes) and HIIT group (33 genes).

Conclusion: Although there is a slight difference in gene expression in statin and non-statin users, this difference does not have a significant effect on exercise tolerance, muscle strength or mitochondrial respiration after a 12 week exercise program.


T.M. Cortes: None. S. Dasari: None. M.M. Robinson: None. K. Nair: None.

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