3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme-A (HMG-coA) reductase inhibitors, commonly known as statins, are widely used for reducing high blood cholesterol, a risk factor of cardiovascular diseases. Lovastatin is a secondary metabolite of fungi growth. This product can be produced by cultures of Penicillium species, Aspergillus terreus, Monascus species, Hypomyces, Doratomyces, Phoma, Eupenicillium, Gymnoascus, and Trichoderma. Although the ability of different groups of fungi for production of lovastatin was reported in many studies, only production of this compound by A. terreus was commercialized for manufacture of high quantity of lovastatin for used as a potent anticholesterol drug.1

Despite the debate, long-term use of statins, at least, reduces the incidence of selected cancers; such as melanoma, endometrial cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) by inducing apoptosis of the lymphoma cells. Statin use also decreases the risk of NHL in HIV-positive persons. In addition to reducing cancer incidence, statin use also reduces the overall cancer mortality.2

Lovastatin is affected by grapefruit juice

Lovastatin may help prevent the deadly effects of plague and brain damage in people affected with malaria. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract viral disease. Presently, there are no explicit recommendations for RSV treatment apart from supportive care. The virus is therefore responsible for an estimated 160,000 deaths per year worldwide. Lovastatin studies suggest that it should be considered for evaluation as a preventive antiviral therapy for selected groups of patients at high risk for severe RSV disease, such as infants, young children, institutionalized elderly and bone marrow or lung transplant recipients.4,5 Preliminary studies have shown that the combination of ketoconazole and lovastatin triggers cell death in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that causes Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis. This disease remains a major public health problem and there is still no effective treatment or vaccine against it.6


  1. Lovastatin Production by Aspergillus terreus Using Agro-Biomass as Substrate in Solid State Fermentation
  2. Lovastatin inhibits human B lymphoma cell proliferation by reducing intracellular ROS and TRPC6 expression
  3. Lovastatin Protects against Experimental Plague in Mice
  4. Respiratory syncytial virus vaccine development
  5. Antiviral Activity of Lovastatin against Respiratory Syncytial Virus In Vivo and In Vitro
  6. Trypanosoma cruzi Response to Sterol Biosynthesis Inhibitors: Morphophysiological Alterations Leading to Cell Death



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