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ORS: Statins May Help Regenerate Damaged Discs

In vitro studies suggest that statins have beneficial effects on collagen synthesis

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Statins may be useful in treating degenerative disc disease, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society held Feb. 22 to 25 in Las Vegas.

Shu-Hua Yang, M.D., of National Taiwan University Hospital, presented two studies: "Lovastatin Helps Re-Differentiation of Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells During Monolayer Expansion" and "Influences of Age-Related Degeneration on Regenerative Potential of Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells."

In the first study, the researchers removed tissues from six patients who were undergoing surgery for herniated lumbar discs, and found that adding lovastatin increased the synthesis of collagen II and decreased the synthesis of collagen I. In the second study, they removed tissue from adolescents who were undergoing surgery for scoliosis and adults who were undergoing surgery for herniated discs and found that younger tissue was more amenable to regeneration.

"Regeneration of the nucleus pulposus tissue in the early stage of intervertebral disc degeneration can theoretically retard or even reverse the degenerative process and possibly regain a healthy intervertebral disc," Yang explained in a statement. "Further studies are needed to determine the potentials of statins for regeneration and repair of degenerative disc disorders."

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