Osteoporosis and other diseases of bone loss are a major public health problem. Here it is shown that the statins, drugs widely used for lowering serum cholesterol, also enhance new bone formation in vitro and in rodents. This effect was associated with increased expression of the bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) gene in bone cells. Lovastatin and simvastatin increased bone formation when injected subcutaneously over the calvaria of mice and increased cancellous bone volume when orally administered to rats. Thus, in appropriate doses, statins may have therapeutic applications for the treatment of osteoporosis.
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