Comparison of effects of different statins on growth and steroidogenesis of rat ovarian theca-interstitial cells

Anna Sokalska, Scott D. Stanley, Jesus A. Villanueva, Israel Ortega, Antoni J. Duleba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Statins are competitive inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme of the cellular production of cholesterol and other products of the mevalonate pathway. Statins exert hepatic and extrahepatic effects, modulating the function of various tissues and organs, including ovaries. Previously, we have demonstrated that simvastatin inhibited cellular proliferation and reduced androgen production by ovarian theca-interstitial cells. The above actions are of translational relevance to the most common endocrine disorder among women in reproductive age: polycystic ovary syndrome. However, different statins may have distinctly different profiles of effects on cholesterol and androgens. The present study was designed to compare the effects of several statins on growth and steroidogenesis of rat theca-interstitial cells. The cells were incubated in the absence (control) or in the presence of simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, or pravastatin. Assessment of effects of statins on cell growth was carried out by evaluation of DNA synthesis and by estimation of the number of viable cells. Effects on steroidogenesis were evaluated by quantification of steroid production and expression of mRNA for the key enzyme regulating androgen production: Cyp17a1. Among tested statins, simvastatin exerted the greatest inhibitory effects on all tested parameters. The rank order of the effects of the tested statins is as follows: simvastatin > lovastatin > atorvastatin ≥ pravastatin. While the lipophilicity is likely to play a major role in determining the ability of statins to act on nonhepatic cells, other factors unique to individual cell types are also likely to be relevant.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 44
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Cyp17a1
  • Ovarian theca-interstitial cells
  • Proliferation
  • Statins
  • Steroidogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine


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